ELECTION CODE


TITLE 16. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS


CHAPTER 272. BILINGUAL REQUIREMENTS


Sec. 272.001. BILINGUAL ELECTION MATERIALS REQUIRED. Bilingual election materials printed in English and Spanish shall be used in elections in this state as provided by this chapter.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

Sec. 272.002. ELECTION PRECINCTS IN WHICH BILINGUAL MATERIALS USED. Except as provided by Section 272.003, bilingual election materials shall be used in each election precinct situated wholly or partly in a county in which five percent or more of the inhabitants are persons of Spanish origin or descent according to the most recent federal decennial census that may be officially recognized or acted upon by the state or political subdivisions.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

Sec. 272.003. EXEMPT ELECTION PRECINCTS. (a) An election precinct to which Section 272.002 applies may be exempted from the bilingual requirement as provided by this section if official census information or other information indicates that persons of Spanish origin or descent comprise less than five percent of the precinct's inhabitants.

(b) To exempt an election precinct from the bilingual requirement, the presiding officer of the governing body of the political subdivision responsible for the expenses of an election, with the approval of the governing body, must file with the authority responsible for procuring the election supplies for the political subdivision's elections:

(1) a written certification by the presiding officer that the precinct qualifies for the exemption;

(2) a written summary of the official census information or other information relied on to support the exemption;

(3) a map or maps indicating the precinct's boundary and the boundaries of the census enumeration areas referred to in the summary; and

(4) an authenticated copy of the resolution or other official action showing the governing body's approval of the exemption.

(c) An exemption is effective on the 30th day after the date the certification and other materials required by Subsection (b) are filed.

(d) In a primary election, each county election precinct that has been exempted under this section is exempt. If an election precinct that qualifies for exemption is not certified as exempt before the 60th day before primary election day, the secretary of state may exempt the precinct for the primary election by filing the certification and other materials as provided by Subsection (b).

(e) A precinct exempted under this section remains exempt until:

(1) the precinct becomes subject to Section 272.002 as a result of a subsequent federal decennial census; or

(2) the effective date of a change in the precinct's boundary.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

Sec. 272.004. USE OF BILINGUAL MATERIALS FOR EARLY VOTING. Bilingual election materials shall be used for early voting in each election in which bilingual election materials are used.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 203, Sec. 2.73; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 554, Sec. 44, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Sec. 272.005. REQUIRED BILINGUAL MATERIALS. (a) The instruction posters must be printed in English and Spanish on separate posters or on the same poster with the Spanish text next to the English text. If separate posters are used, they must be posted side by side.

(b) Except as provided by Section 272.006, ballots must be printed with all ballot instructions, office titles, column headings, proposition headings, and propositions appearing in English and Spanish.

(c) Except as provided by Section 272.006, the following materials must contain a Spanish translation beneath the English text:

(1) the official affidavit forms and other official forms that voters are required to sign in connection with voting;

(2) the official application forms for early voting ballots;

(3) written instructions furnished to early voting voters; and

(4) the balloting materials furnished to voters in connection with early voting by mail.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 203, Sec. 2.74; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 554, Sec. 45, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1107 (H.B. 2309), Sec. 2.18, eff. January 1, 2006.

Sec. 272.006. SEPARATE TRANSLATION AUTHORIZED. (a) In an election precinct in which use of bilingual election materials is required, bilingual printing of the ballot is not required if a Spanish translation of the ballot is posted in each voting station and a statement in Spanish is placed on the ballot informing the voter that the translation is posted in the station.

(b) If a separate translation of the ballot is made under Subsection (a), the translation must be furnished to each voter to whom an early voting ballot to be voted by mail is provided.

(c) An item specified by Section 272.005(c) is not required to contain a Spanish translation if:

(1) for an item used in connection with voting at a polling place:

(A) a separate translation of the item is made available to the voter on request; and

(B) the item contains a statement in Spanish informing the voter of the availability of the translation; or

(2) for an item used in connection with early voting by mail, a separate translation of the item is furnished with the item to the voter.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 203, Sec. 2.75; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 554, Sec. 46, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1107 (H.B. 2309), Sec. 2.19, eff. January 1, 2006.

Sec. 272.007. AUTHORITY PREPARING TRANSLATION. (a) Except as otherwise provided by this section, the secretary of state shall prepare the Spanish translation for the bilingual election materials required by Sections 272.005 and 272.006.

(b) The secretary of state shall prepare the Spanish translation of the ballot propositions for proposed constitutional amendments and other measures submitted by the legislature if the legislature does not provide a translation.

(c) The authority responsible for having the official ballot prepared for an election other than a primary election or an election ordered by the governor shall prepare the Spanish translation of the contents of the ballot.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1107 (H.B. 2309), Sec. 2.20, eff. January 1, 2006.

Sec. 272.008. OPTIONAL USE OF BILINGUAL MATERIALS. (a) The governing body of the political subdivision responsible for the expenses of an election may require the use of bilingual election materials in one or more election precincts.

(b) If bilingual materials are required to be used under this section, an authenticated copy of the resolution or other official action showing the governing body's decision shall be filed with the authority responsible for procuring the election supplies for the political subdivision's elections.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

Sec. 272.009. BILINGUAL ELECTION CLERKS. (a) The presiding judge of an election precinct subject to Section 272.002 shall make reasonable efforts to appoint a sufficient number of election clerks who are fluent in both English and Spanish to serve the needs of the Spanish-speaking voters of the precinct.

(b) If the number of election clerks appointed under Subsection (a) is insufficient to serve the needs of the Spanish-speaking voters in the election, the authority appointing election judges for the election shall appoint at least one clerk who is fluent in both English and Spanish to serve at a central location to provide assistance for Spanish-speaking voters. On a primary election day, the county chairs of each party holding a primary shall each appoint one clerk under this subsection.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 638, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1107 (H.B. 2309), Sec. 1.24, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 272.010. VOTER REGISTRATION APPLICATION FORM. (a) The secretary of state shall prescribe a voter registration application form that is printed in Spanish or shall include a Spanish translation beneath the text of the English-language registration application form prescribed by the secretary.

(b) The voter registrar for each county containing an election precinct subject to Section 272.002 shall maintain a supply of the form required by Subsection (a) and shall keep a notice in Spanish posted at the place in the registrar's office where voter registration is conducted stating that application forms in Spanish are available.

(c) The form required by Subsection (a) may be used in any county in this state.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 864, Sec. 253, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

This section was amended by the 85th Legislature. Pending publication of the current statutes, see S.B. 5, 85th Legislature, Regular Session, for amendments affecting this section.


Sec. 272.011. BILINGUAL ELECTION MATERIALS REQUIRED IN CERTAIN POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS. (a) If the director of the census determines under 42 U.S.C. Section 1973aa-1a that a political subdivision must provide election materials in a language other than English or Spanish, the political subdivision shall provide election materials in that language in the same manner in which the political subdivision would be required to provide materials in Spanish under this chapter, to the extent applicable.

(b) The secretary of state shall prepare the translation for election materials required to be provided in a language other than English or Spanish for the following state prescribed voter forms:

(1) voter registration application form required by Section 13.002;

(2) the confirmation form required by Section 15.051;

(3) the voting instruction poster required by Section 62.011;

(4) the statement of residence form required by Section 63.0011;

(5) the provisional ballot affidavit required by Section 63.011;

(6) the application for a ballot by mail required by Section 84.011;

(7) the carrier envelope and voting instructions required by Section 86.013; and

(8) any other voter forms that the secretary of state identifies as frequently used and for which state resources are otherwise available.

Added by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1014 (H.B. 2477), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2011.