ELECTION CODE


TITLE 5. ELECTION SUPPLIES


CHAPTER 51. ELECTION SUPPLIES


SUBCHAPTER A. PROCURING, ALLOCATING, AND DISTRIBUTING ELECTION SUPPLIES


Sec. 51.001. ELECTION SUPPLIES. In this chapter, "election supplies" means the equipment, ballots, forms, lists of registered voters, and other materials necessary to conduct an election.

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

Sec. 51.002. COUNTY ELECTION BOARD. (a) A county election board is established in each county for the general election for state and county officers, a special election for an officer regularly elected at the general election, and any other election ordered by a county authority or held at county expense.

(b) For the general election for state and county officers and for a special election for an officer regularly elected at the general election, the county election board consists of the county judge, county clerk, voter registrar, sheriff, and county chair of each political party required to nominate candidates by primary election. For other elections, the board consists of the county judge, county clerk, voter registrar, and sheriff.

(c) The county clerk is the chair of the county election board.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 864, Sec. 44, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 51.003. PROCURING AND ALLOCATING SUPPLIES. Except as otherwise provided by law, the following authority shall procure the election supplies necessary to conduct an election and shall determine the quantity of the various types of supplies to be provided to each precinct polling place and early voting polling place:

(1) for an election ordered by the governor or a county authority, the county clerk, subject to the approval of the county election board;

(2) for a primary election, the county chair of the political party holding the primary, subject to the approval of the party's county executive committee;

(3) for an election ordered by a city authority, the city secretary; and

(4) for an election ordered by an authority of a political subdivision other than a county or city, the secretary of the subdivision's governing body or, if the governing body has no secretary, the governing body's presiding officer.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 203, Sec. 2.45; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 554, Sec. 16, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 864, Sec. 45, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 51.004. DISTRIBUTING SUPPLIES. (a) Except as otherwise provided by law, the authority responsible for procuring the election supplies for an election shall distribute the supplies for the election.

(b) The appropriate supplies shall be distributed to each presiding election judge not later than one hour before the polls are required to be open for voting and to the early voting clerk before the beginning of early voting.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 203, Sec. 2.46; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 554, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Sec. 51.005. NUMBER OF BALLOTS. (a) The authority responsible for procuring the election supplies for an election shall provide for each election precinct a number of ballots equal to at least the percentage of voters who voted in that precinct in the most recent corresponding election plus 25 percent of that number, except that the number of ballots provided may not exceed the total number of registered voters in the precinct.

(b) 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.

(c) The secretary of state shall prescribe procedures for determining the number of provisional ballots to be provided.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 797, Sec. 37, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1078, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1107 (H.B. 2309), Sec. 1.12, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 51.006. PREPARING BALLOTS FOR DISTRIBUTION. The authority responsible for distributing election supplies shall package and seal each set of ballots before their distribution and shall mark the package with the number of ballots enclosed and the range of the ballot serial numbers. If the authority is the early voting clerk, the ballots allocated for early voting need not be packaged and sealed.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 203, Sec. 2.47; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 554, Sec. 18, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Sec. 51.007. RECORD OF BALLOT DISTRIBUTION. (a) As soon as practicable after the ballots are packaged for distribution, the authority responsible for distributing election supplies shall prepare a record of the number of ballots and the range of serial numbers on the ballots to be distributed to each presiding judge and the early voting clerk.

(b) The authority shall preserve the record for the period for preserving the precinct election records.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 203, Sec. 2.48; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 554, Sec. 19, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Sec. 51.008. SUPPLEMENTING DISTRIBUTED BALLOTS. (a) The authority responsible for distributing election supplies shall retain a reserve of ballots to supplement the distributed ballots and on election day may reallocate previously distributed ballots among the polling places.

(b) The authority shall enter on the record of ballot distribution the number of ballots reserved and the number of ballots distributed from the reserve to each polling place. The range of serial numbers on the ballots shall be included in the record.

(c) If distributed ballots are reallocated, the authority shall indicate the reallocation on the record of ballot distribution and shall issue a receipt to each presiding election judge showing the number of ballots and the range of serial numbers on the ballots taken from the judge's polling place for redistribution. Each presiding judge shall indicate on the ballot register any reallocation of ballots affecting that polling place.

(d) The authority shall retain the undistributed reserve for the period for preserving the precinct election records.

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

Sec. 51.009. SHERIFF TO DELIVER SUPPLIES. (a) The sheriff shall deliver the election supplies that a county clerk is responsible for distributing, on request of the clerk, to each presiding judge who has not obtained them from the clerk.

(b) This section does not require the sheriff to deliver an item that cannot be transported in a regular passenger vehicle.

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

Sec. 51.010. FAILURE TO DISTRIBUTE OR DELIVER SUPPLIES. (a) A person commits an offense if the person is responsible for distributing election supplies for an election and intentionally fails to distribute any of the supplies by the deadline prescribed by Section 51.004(b).

(b) A person commits an offense if the person is entrusted with the delivery of election supplies for use at polling places and intentionally fails to deliver any of the supplies within the time specified by the person who entrusted the delivery to the person.

(c) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 864, Sec. 46, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 51.011. OBSTRUCTING DISTRIBUTION OF SUPPLIES. (a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally obstructs the distribution of election supplies for an election.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

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

Sec. 51.013. IDENTIFICATION OF PRINTERS FOR PRIMARY ELECTION OR GENERAL ELECTION FOR STATE AND COUNTY OFFICERS. (a) Each person who prints ballots or other election supplies for a primary election or the general election for state and county officers shall file a statement with the secretary of state as provided by this section.

(b) The statement must be filed not later than the 60th day before the date of the applicable election.

(c) The statement must include:

(1) the name, business address, and business telephone number of the printer;

(2) the name and telephone number of any agent or employee of the printer who is designated to receive inquiries or issue information about the printing of ballots or other election supplies; and

(3) the name and address of each client for whom the ballots or other supplies are printed, the voting methods for which the materials are printed for the client, and a description of the materials printed for the client.

(d) The secretary of state shall prescribe the form for the statement required by this section.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 472, Sec. 10, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.

SUBCHAPTER B. ELECTION EQUIPMENT


Sec. 51.031. APPROVAL OF BALLOT AND VOTING BOOTHS. (a) Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter, the secretary of state must approve the composition and design of ballot boxes and voting booths before the equipment may be used in elections.

(b) A person desiring approval of a ballot box or a voting booth for use in this state must submit a written request for approval to the secretary of state.

(c) After examining the specifications or a model of a ballot box or voting booth submitted for approval, the secretary of state by written order shall approve the equipment for use in elections if the secretary determines that the equipment's composition and design are suitable for the intended use.

(d) The secretary of state shall attach the approval order to the approval request and retain it permanently on file.

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

Sec. 51.032. VOTING BOOTHS. (a) Voting booths that provide privacy for voters while marking their ballots shall be provided at each polling place.

(b) The entrance of the voting booth may be open or it may have a door or curtain that a voter may close while occupying the booth.

(c) A voting booth may be used without approval of the secretary of state if the booth complies with the standards prescribed by the secretary of state or if the booth:

(1) is rectangular, with at least three sides of opaque material beginning not more than three feet from the floor and extending to a height of at least six feet from the floor;

(2) has inside dimensions at least 22 inches wide and 30 inches deep; and

(3) has a shelf for writing.

(d) The voting booth standards prescribed by the secretary of state must assure that privacy for voters while marking their ballots is provided and that the voting booth's composition and design are suitable for the intended use.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 472, Sec. 11, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.

Sec. 51.033. NUMBER AND USE OF BALLOT BOXES. (a) Four ballot boxes shall be used at each polling place in an election and shall be marked as follows:

(1) "Ballot Box No. 1 for Election Precinct No. ________";

(2) "Ballot Box No. 2 for Election Precinct No. ________";

(3) "Ballot Box No. 3 for Election Precinct No. ________"; and

(4) "Ballot Box No. 4 for Election Precinct No. ________".

(b) If an election precinct is designated by name instead of number, the name of the precinct shall be marked on the box.

(c) Ballot boxes no. 1 and no. 2 are used for the deposit of voters' marked ballots.

(d) Ballot box no. 3 is used for delivering the voted ballots to their custodian after they are counted and for storing the voted ballots during the preservation period.

(e) Ballot box no. 4 is used for delivering defectively printed, spoiled, and unused ballots to their custodian after the election.

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

Sec. 51.034. SPECIFICATIONS FOR BALLOT BOXES. (a) Each ballot box must be made of a sturdy material and suitably designed for its intended use. Each box must have a lock and key.

(b) Ballot boxes no. 1 and no. 2 must each have a slot in the top just large enough to receive a ballot. Ballot boxes no. 3 and no. 4 are not required to have a slot, but if a slot is provided, it may not be larger than that prescribed for boxes no. 1 and no. 2.

(c) A ballot box may be used without approval of the secretary of state if the box:

(1) is an enclosed, opaque container made of metal, wood, or other material;

(2) is equipped with a hinged top, hasp, and padlock; and

(3) complies with Subsection (b).

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

Sec. 51.035. USE OF COUNTY-OWNED EQUIPMENT FOR PRIMARY ELECTION. (a) On request of the county chair of a political party holding a primary election, the county clerk shall furnish available county-owned ballot boxes and voting booths to the party for use in its primary election.

(b) If there is not enough county-owned equipment to satisfy the requests made under Subsection (a), the commissioners court shall allocate the equipment among the political parties requesting it.

(c) A fee may not be charged for use of equipment furnished under this section, but the political party shall reimburse the county for the actual expenses incurred by the county in transporting the equipment to and from the polling places if the county provides that service.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 864, Sec. 47, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 51.036. CUSTODIAN OF EQUIPMENT. Except as otherwise provided by this code, the authority responsible for distributing election supplies for an election ordered by an authority of a political subdivision is the custodian of the election equipment owned by the political subdivision.

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