ELECTION CODE


TITLE 4. TIME AND PLACE OF ELECTIONS


CHAPTER 42. ELECTION PRECINCTS


SUBCHAPTER A. COUNTY ELECTION PRECINCTS


Sec. 42.001. PRECINCTS ESTABLISHED BY COMMISSIONERS COURT. (a) Each commissioners court by order shall divide all the territory of the county into county election precincts in accordance with this subchapter. The precincts must be compact and contiguous.

(b) In a county with a population of more than 175,000, in establishing a county election precinct, the commissioners court shall consider the availability of buildings to use as polling places so that a voter of the precinct will not have to travel more than 25 miles from the voter's residence to reach the polling place for the precinct.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 114, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 742 (H.B. 2759), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 42.002. REQUIRED USE OF COUNTY PRECINCTS. (a) The county election precincts are the election precincts for the following elections:

(1) the general election for state and county officers;

(2) a special election ordered by the governor;

(3) a primary election;

(4) a countywide election ordered by the commissioners court, county judge, or other county authority, except an election subject to Section 42.062(2); and

(5) as provided by Section 42.0621, any other election held by a political subdivision on a uniform election date.

(b) Except as provided by Sections 42.008 and 42.009, county election precincts may not be consolidated for an election.

(c) Subsection (a)(5) does not apply to an election held on the May uniform election date by a political subdivision that:

(1) conducts early voting by personal appearance:

(A) at 75 percent or more of its permanent or temporary branch polling places on the same days and during the same hours as voting is conducted at the main early voting polling place; and

(B) at each remaining polling place for at least two consecutive days of voting during the early voting period, and for at least eight hours on each of the two consecutive days; or

(2) has not established a permanent or temporary branch early voting polling place.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 114, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1042 (H.B. 1209), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1261 (H.B. 2926), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 711 (H.B. 2847), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 549 (H.B. 2027), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 42.003. BOUNDARY DESCRIPTION. Each county election precinct must be described by natural or artificial boundaries or by survey lines.

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

Sec. 42.004. PRECINCT IDENTIFICATION. The commissioners court shall identify each county election precinct by a number.

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

Sec. 42.005. RELATIONSHIP TO DISTRICTS AND JUSTICE AND COMMISSIONERS PRECINCTS.

(a) A county election precinct, including a consolidated precinct, may not contain territory from more than one of each of the following types of territorial units:

(1) a commissioners precinct;

(2) a justice precinct;

(3) a congressional district;

(4) a state representative district;

(5) a state senatorial district; or

(6) a State Board of Education district.

(b) If application of this section conflicts with application of Section 42.006, this section prevails.

(c) Repealed by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 143, Sec. 4, eff. May 24, 2013.

(d) Repealed by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 143, Sec. 4, eff. May 24, 2013.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 54, Sec. 4(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 114, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 143 (H.B. 1164), Sec. 1, eff. May 24, 2013.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 143 (H.B. 1164), Sec. 2, eff. May 24, 2013.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 143 (H.B. 1164), Sec. 4, eff. May 24, 2013.

Sec. 42.0051. COMBINING CERTAIN PRECINCTS. (a) If changes in county election precinct boundaries to give effect to a redistricting plan result in county election precincts with a number of registered voters less than 500, a commissioners court for a general or special election, or for a primary election the county executive committee of a political party conducting a primary election, may combine county election precincts notwithstanding Section 42.005 to avoid unreasonable expenditures for election equipment, supplies, and personnel.

(b) County election precincts in a county with a population of 250,000 or more may also be combined under Subsection (a) if the changes result in county election precincts with 500 or more but fewer than 750 registered voters.

(c) A combined precinct under this section is subject to the maximum population prescribed for a precinct under Section 42.006.

(d) A combined precinct may not be established if it:

(1) results in a dilution of voting strength of a group covered by the federal Voting Rights Act (42 U.S.C. Section 1973c et seq.);

(2) results in a dilution of representation of a group covered by the Voting Rights Act in any political or electoral process or procedure; or

(3) results in discouraging participation by a group covered by the Voting Rights Act in any political or electoral process or procedure because of the location of a polling place or other factors.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 205, Sec. 1, eff. May 19, 1993. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1350, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 42.006. POPULATION REQUIREMENTS. (a) Except as otherwise provided by this section, a county election precinct must contain at least 100 but not more than 5,000 registered voters.

(b) For an election precinct in a county with a population under 100,000, the minimum number of registered voters the precinct may contain is 50, except as provided by Subsection (c).

(c) In a county with a population under 50,000, a county election precinct may contain fewer than 50 registered voters if the commissioners court receives a written petition, signed by at least 25 registered voters of the county, requesting establishment or continuation of the precinct.

(d) Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 921, Sec. 5.001, eff. September 1, 2007.

(e) In computing a number of registered voters under this section, voters whose names appear on the list of registered voters with the notation "S", or a similar notation, shall be excluded.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 472, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 36, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 742 (H.B. 2759), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1107 (H.B. 2309), Sec. 1.11(a), eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1107 (H.B. 2309), Sec. 1.11(b), eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 921 (H.B. 3167), Sec. 5.001, eff. September 1, 2007.

Sec. 42.007. COMBINING INCORPORATED AND UNINCORPORATED TERRITORY. A commissioners court may not establish a county election precinct containing territory inside a city with a population of 10,000 or more and unincorporated territory outside that city unless the commissioners court determines that either of the two areas:

(1) cannot constitute a separate election precinct of suitable size or shape that contains the permissible number of voters; or

(2) cannot be combined with other territory on the same side of the city boundary to form an election precinct of a suitable size or shape that contains the permissible number of voters without causing another election precinct to fail to meet those requirements.

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

Sec. 42.008. CONSOLIDATING PRECINCTS IN SPECIAL ELECTION. (a) In a special election for which use of county election precincts is required, the commissioners court may consolidate, on the recommendation of the county election board, two or more county election precincts into a single precinct if the polling place is located so it will adequately serve the voters of the consolidated precinct.

(b) If county election precincts are consolidated for a countywide election, at least one consolidated precinct must be situated wholly within each commissioners precinct.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 277, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Sec. 42.009. CONSOLIDATING PRECINCTS IN PRIMARY ELECTION. The county executive committee of a political party holding a primary election may order two or more county election precincts consolidated into a single precinct if the polling place is located so it will adequately serve the voters of the consolidated precinct.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 974 (H.B. 1528), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2011.

Sec. 42.010. RECOMMENDATION ON ELIMINATION OF LESS POPULOUS PRECINCTS. (a) Repealed by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 143, Sec. 4, eff. May 24, 2013.

(b) After each redistricting of a territorial unit described by Section 42.005(a)(1) or (2), the commissioners court shall consider changes to the territorial units to allow the county to eliminate county election precincts with no population or a substantially small population.

(c) After each redistricting of a territorial unit described by Section 42.005(a)(3), (4), (5), or (6), the commissioners court may submit recommendations to the secretary of state on changes to the territorial units to allow the county to eliminate county election precincts with no population or a substantially small population.

(d) For purposes of this section, a "substantially small population" describes a precinct with a population of not more than 10 persons or not more than 6 registered voters, according to the most recent federal census or list of registered voters, as applicable, as of the date of the redistricting.

(e) To be considered by the secretary of state, the recommendations must be submitted in the manner prescribed by the secretary.

(f) The secretary of state shall evaluate all timely recommendations submitted in accordance with Subsection (e). The secretary shall compile all recommendations for the elimination of the county election precincts in a manner consistent with state and federal law.

(g) The secretary of state shall file a report containing the information described by Subsection (f) with the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the house of representatives not later than the date of convening the first regular legislative session that occurs after a redistricting of a territorial unit described by Subsection (c). If the information submitted is insufficient for the compilation required by Subsection (f), the secretary shall include a statement to that effect in the report.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1048, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 143 (H.B. 1164), Sec. 3, eff. May 24, 2013.

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 143 (H.B. 1164), Sec. 4, eff. May 24, 2013.

SUBCHAPTER B. CHANGING COUNTY PRECINCT BOUNDARIES


Sec. 42.031. REVIEWING PRECINCTS FOR COMPLIANCE: BOUNDARY CHANGES. (a) During March or April of each odd-numbered year, each commissioners court shall determine whether the county election precincts comply with Sections 42.005, 42.006, and 42.007. The commissioners court may make that determination during March or April of an even-numbered year. Before May 1 of the year in which the determination is made, the commissioners court shall order the boundary changes necessary for compliance.

(b) The commissioners court may order a boundary change only during March or April unless the change is necessary to:

(1) comply with Section 42.005 or 42.032;

(2) reduce the number of registered voters in a precinct so it does not exceed the maximum number permitted by Section 42.006; or

(3) include within a precinct a suitable building available for use as a polling place if no suitable building is available for that purpose within the existing precinct boundary.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 436, Sec. 16, eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 472, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.

Sec. 42.032. REDISTRICTING: BOUNDARY CHANGES. If changes in county election precinct boundaries are necessary to give effect to a redistricting plan under Article III, Section 28, of the Texas Constitution, each commissioners court shall order the changes before October 1 of the year in which the redistricting is done.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 436, Sec. 16, eff. Sept. 1, 1987; Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 472, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.

Sec. 42.033. EFFECTIVE DATE OF BOUNDARY CHANGE. (a) A change in a county election precinct boundary takes effect on the first day of the first even-numbered voting year following the voting year in which the change is ordered.

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), for a boundary change under Section 42.031(b), the commissioners court may order an earlier effective date than that prescribed by Subsection (a) if:

(1) an election for an officer of a territorial unit under Section 42.005(a) is scheduled or may be scheduled to be held before the effective date of the change under Subsection (a) and the territorial unit contains the election precinct as changed; and

(2) the voter registrar has sufficient time to correct the registration records before the effective date of the change.

(c) A change in a county election precinct boundary may not take effect on a date occurring between the date of the general primary election and the date of the general election for state and county officers unless the change is necessary to:

(1) comply with Section 42.005 after a boundary change made under Article V, Section 18, of the Texas Constitution;

(2) include within a precinct a suitable building available for use as a polling place if no suitable building is available for that purpose within the existing precinct boundary; or

(3) comply with a court order.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 114, Sec. 8, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 42.034. NOTICE TO REGISTRAR. The commissioners court shall deliver a certified copy of an order changing a county election precinct boundary to the voter registrar not later than the seventh day after the date the order is adopted.

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

Sec. 42.035. PUBLIC NOTICE. (a) Beginning with the first week following the week in which an order changing a county election precinct boundary is adopted, the commissioners court shall publish notice of the change in a newspaper in the county once a week for three consecutive weeks.

(b) The notice must include a brief, general description of the boundary change.

(c) If no newspaper is published in the county, the commissioners court shall post the notice at the county courthouse on the bulletin board used for posting notice of meetings of the commissioners court. The notice must remain posted continuously for three consecutive weeks.

(d) The county clerk shall deliver a copy of the notice to the secretary of state not later than the 20th day after the date the order changing the boundary is adopted.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 114, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 42.036. ADDITIONAL NOTICE IN POPULOUS COUNTIES. (a) This section applies only to a county with a population of one million or more.

(b) The commissioners court shall deliver written notice of each proposed change and of each order making a change in a county election precinct boundary to:

(1) the county chair of each political party that held a primary election in the county on the most recent general primary day;

(2) the political party's precinct chair of each affected election precinct; and

(3) the presiding judge appointed by the commissioners court for each affected election precinct.

(c) The notice of a proposed boundary change must be delivered not later than the seventh day before the date of the commissioners court meeting at which the proposed change will be considered. The notice of an order making a boundary change must be delivered not later than the seventh day after the date the order is adopted.

(d) The notice of a proposed change must describe the proposed change in brief, general terms, identify the precincts to be affected by the proposed change, and state the date, hour, and place of the meeting.

(e) The notice of an order making a boundary change must describe the change in brief, general terms and identify the changed precincts. As an alternative, the notice to the county chair may be a copy of the order, and the notice to a precinct chair or presiding judge may be a copy of the portion of the order affecting the precinct served by that person.

(f) A person entitled to notice under this section may challenge a boundary change made in violation of this section by petition to the district court. The petition must be filed not later than one year after the date the change is scheduled to take effect. If the court determines that the commissioners court failed to comply with this section, the court shall declare the boundary change void. The validity of an election held before the date of a final judgment declaring a change void is not affected by the judgment. Noncompliance with this section may not be challenged in any other manner.

(g) For one year following the effective date of a change in a county election precinct boundary, the commissioners court shall maintain a record containing a copy of each notice required by this section in connection with the boundary change and showing the date the notice was delivered.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 597, Sec. 65, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 864, Sec. 42, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 42.037. FILING MAP OF PRECINCT BOUNDARY CHANGES WITH SECRETARY OF STATE. (a) Not later than the 120th day after the date an order changing a county election precinct boundary is adopted, the county clerk shall deliver to the secretary of state a map depicting the affected precinct's boundary as changed and showing the number of the precinct.

(b) The secretary of state shall retain each map for 10 years after receipt. After that period, the secretary shall transfer the map to the state library.

(c) The state librarian shall retain the map for 20 years after receipt.

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

SUBCHAPTER C. OTHER ELECTION PRECINCTS


Sec. 42.061. PRECINCTS OF POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OTHER THAN COUNTY. (a) The governing body of a political subdivision other than a county shall establish the election precincts for elections ordered by an authority of the political subdivision.

(b) The precincts may be established before each election or, once established, remain established until changed, at the governing body's discretion.

(c) An election precinct established for an election ordered by a city authority may not divide a county election precinct except as necessary to follow the city's boundary.

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

Sec. 42.0615. NOTICE TO REGISTRAR OF BOUNDARY CHANGE OF POLITICAL SUBDIVISION. A political subdivision that changes its boundaries or the boundaries of districts used to elect members to the governing body of the political subdivision shall not later than the 30th day after the date the change is adopted:

(1) notify the voter registrar of the county in which the area subject to the boundary change is located of the adopted boundary change; and

(2) provide the voter registrar with a map of an adopted boundary change in a format that is compatible with the mapping format used by the registrar's office.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 709 (S.B. 427), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 42.062. PRECINCTS FOR CERTAIN SPECIAL ELECTIONS. A county authority ordering an election shall establish the election precincts for the election if:

(1) the election is a special election affecting only part of the county; or

(2) the election relates to the creation, organization, functioning, or existence of one or more political subdivisions other than the county.

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

Sec. 42.0621. PRECINCTS FOR ELECTIONS HELD ON A UNIFORM ELECTION DATE. (a) In an election held on a uniform election date, the political subdivisions to which Section 42.002(a)(5) applies shall use the regular county election precincts.

(b) If an election precinct is not located wholly within the territory of a political subdivision holding an election in the precinct or a district used to elect an office at the election, election officials shall take reasonable measures to ensure that a voter voting at that precinct may not vote in an election in which the voter is not entitled to vote.

(c) This section does not require a political subdivision to contract with a county under Section 31.092 or hold a joint election with a county under Chapter 271.

(d) The secretary of state shall prescribe procedures to implement this section.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1042 (H.B. 1209), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 711 (H.B. 2847), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2009.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 549 (H.B. 2027), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2015.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 549 (H.B. 2027), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 42.063. BOUNDARY DESCRIPTION. Each election precinct established under this subchapter must be described by natural or artificial boundaries, by survey lines, or if the precinct is coterminous with one or more county election precincts, by use of the county election precinct number or numbers.

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

Sec. 42.064. PRECINCT IDENTIFICATION. If more than one election precinct is established under this subchapter, the authority establishing the precincts shall identify each precinct by a name or number.

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

Sec. 42.065. CONFLICTS WITH OTHER LAW. A law outside this subchapter supersedes this subchapter to the extent of any conflict.

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