Under a measure proposed by a state legislator, elections in Texas would be held on only one of two days with very few exceptions. That’s a marked change from current law, in which city and school governments routinely shop election dates to minimize voter participation
State Rep. Mike Lang’s House Bil 1271 would require that elections, including those for bonds, be held on the same date as the March primary or November general election.
The measure results from a plank in the Republican party of Texas’ 2016 platform:
All public elections, with the exception of specially called elections, should be consolidated to Primary and General Election days and locations.
The measure would allow for only two election dates, with an exception for runoffs, specials to fill vacant seats, and the cases of tied results.
“With so many important issues to be voted on, it becomes very costly to perform the elections needed under current law. I believe this will greatly benefit, not only the State of Texas as a whole, but our local cities and counties as well,” said Lang.
He added that the current system makes it difficult for “for citizens to stay involved and informed with a multitude of election dates.”
Last fall, the Midland Independent School District specifically called an election on Oct. 8, less than a month before the November general election. While publicly claiming the move was intended to help voters focus on the single issue, it was widely acknowledged behind the scenes that the date was selected to reduce voter turn-out. (The plan backfired and the tax hike was rejected.)