2020 Voting Guidelines Related to COVID-19
On May 27, 2020, the Texas Secretary of State's Office issued guidelines to voters and entities holding elections concerning polling places and voting conduct during upcoming elections. Click here to view the document. This was updated on June 18, 2020. Click here to view these additional guidelines.
May 2, 2020 General Election POSTPONED
March 31, 2020 -
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The City Council of La Porte has officially moved its May 2020 general election to the November 3, 2020 uniform election date, with the ability to consider dates prior to that if they become available by action of the State of Texas.
The City’s annual May general election for this year is for Councilperson seats for Districts 1 and 6 and At-Large Position B. Due to COVID-19 considerations, Governor Abbott issued a proclamation on March 18, allowing local governments to postpone May 2nd elections to November 3 (Secretary of State Election Advisory No. 2020-12 to accompany it is available at https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/forms/adv-12-may-2-2020-uniform-election-date.pdf). The City Council discussed concerns at its March 23 regular meeting, voting to consolidate polling locations for the May 2nd date and setting a special meeting for March 30 to formally revise the January 2020 ordinance that called the election. Following that decision, on March 24th, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a Stay At Home, Work Safe Order for the county, effectively restricting movement and gatherings through April 3. These contact limitations had been recommended at a national and state level and were being issued in similar formats in areas across Texas.
Later the same day, the Texas Secretary of State’s Office (SoS) sent Mass Email (CSO-3492) to political entities, encouraging election officials and governing bodies to make the decision on election dates quickly and including the following:
b. Shelter-in-Place Orders: As many local political subdivisions are enacting shelter-in-place orders, this has a significant impact on elections. If your entity or your county has issued such an order, you need to move your election; otherwise you are putting your election at risk of an election contest due to voters not being able to exercise their right to vote. Additionally, some political subdivisions have enacted fines for violating their local ordinances; if your order does so and there is no specific exemption for voting or conducting elections, you put your voters at risk of criminal penalty for leaving their homes to vote.
The City of La Porte’s City Secretary’s Office (CSO) requested clarification as to the urgency or full context of this item, since most entities had not extended such orders as far as the first day of early voting (April 20), and as Harris County specifically did not name its order a shelter-in-place, although the intent was perceived to be similar. Christina Worrell Adkins, the SoS Elections Division Legal Director, provided the following, in part:
At this point, there is a distinct possibility that many of the current shelter-in-place and/or stay at home orders that have been put into place could be extended. You want to consider whether that is a possibility for your community. Regardless of how the local entities have classified it, there are many cities and counties that have enacted fines for violating these ordinances.
We strongly advise all local entities that have these orders in place take action to move their election. If you do not, you run the risk of putting your election risk for an election contest as it is very likely that voters may not feel safe leaving their homes to vote.
On March 25, the White House provided Gov. Abbott with his requested Major Disaster Declaration for Texas, and followed on Sunday, March 29th with an extension of the federal distancing guidelines through the end of April. Harris County Judge Hidalgo suggested in her March 30th press conference that she might match this end date with a Stay At Home, Work Safe Order extension. At its special session the same night, the City Council voted to extend the City’s Disaster Declaration to continue in effect until such time as the COVID-19 Disaster Declaration issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on March 13, 2020, expires or is withdrawn, unless sooner terminated by executive order of the Mayor or by the City Council.
After a difficult and thorough discussion, the City Council voted to postpone the election. Per the guidelines of the Governor’s proclamation, election deadlines for the November election will be followed. Current candidates may withdraw until the deadline for the same on the November uniform election date calendar, but no additional applications for the general election will be accepted. Candidates will resume campaign finance reporting guidelines with the Texas Ethic Commission’s (TEC) July 15 semi-annual reporting date, provided they are not exempt due to the modified reporting standards.
The SoS also provided information regarding ballot by mail packets that have already been sent:
Ballot By Mail Requests: All applications for a ballot by mail (ABBMs) that were filed for the May 2, 2020 election that are marked annual would apply for the November 3, 2020 election. All single use ABBMs that were submitted for reasons of age or disability would still be valid for the November 3, 2020 election. If a single use ABBM was submitted and indicated the reason for voting by mail was due to absence from the county, this ABBM would not be valid as the applicable election date has changed. However, we would recommend that the political subdivision send a letter to these voters along with a new ABBM in case the circumstances surrounding their absence from the county are still valid or the voter is otherwise eligible to vote by mail.
Ballots by Mail: If a political subdivision has already sent out mail ballots, those mail ballots that are returned would still be valid for the November 3, 2020 postponed election date.
The City will be reviewing the over 850 mail ballot applications received and for which mail balloting packets have been mailed (many of which have been voted and returned) to determine which will be moved forward for the November election. Voters who have received a balloting packet from the City should review the information above in determining how to proceed. Voters whose materials will not be moved forward under the SoS guidelines will be contacted and notified of their November voting options by the City. Any voter with questions or concerns should contact the CSO at CitySecretary@LaPorteTX.gov or 281-470-5021.
Citizens may register to vote until October 5, 2020, to vote in the November election. The partial November 3 uniform election date calendar from the SoS is available at https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/important-election-dates.shtml.
The SoS Election Advisory No. 2020-12 also addressed the Councilpersons not seeking re-election, noting that “[u]nder Art. XVI, Sec. 17 of the Texas Constitution, the individuals who currently hold public offices that are scheduled to be on the ballot on the May uniform election date will continue to exercise the duties of those offices until the new officers take their oaths of office, following the November uniform election date.”
Updates will continue to be shared on the City of La Porte website, on the City’s social media platforms, and on the City’s Elections page at LaPorteTX.gov/Elections or LaPorteTX.gov/Elecciones. Voters are reminded that the City of La Porte is the official source of information regarding City of La Porte elections, and to be careful in following or sharing information from unofficial sources.
Click here for Ordinance 2020-3787, amending Ordinance 2020-3771 and moving the 5/2/20 general election to 11/3/20; adopted 3/30/20.
March 18, 2020 - Governor Abbott has issued additional information concerning the May 2 general election. The Governor’s proclamation (https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/press/PROC_COVID-19_May_2_Election_Date_IMAGE_03-18-2020.pdf) offers political subdivisions the opportunity to move their May 2 election to the next uniform election date, which is November 3, 2020.
The Governor has not mandated a move to November. The item will be on the Monday, March 23, City Council agenda and on the Tuesday, March 24, LPISD Board of Trustees agenda, we understand. We will not have further direction until the governing body has made a decision. Until they do, we continue to assume no change to the May 2 election. This is a decision of the elected officials – only information issued from the City or the LPISD is official information in relation to the City/LPISD general election.
The May 2, 2020, General Election has been postponed to Tuesday, November 3, 2020, as noted above.The May candidates will move forward on the ballot - there will not be an additional filing period. Deadlines for voter registration, early voting periods, etc. will follow the State of Texas' November uniform election date calendar. Find more information at https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/important-election-dates.shtml#2021.
The May 1, 2021, General Election will be held at La Porte City Hall, located at 604 West Fairmont Parkway. Filing for a place on the ballot is set by state statute and will run from January 13 to February 12, 2021. Find additional election-related dates and information at https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/voter/important-election-dates.shtml#2021 (posted in accordance with TX. Legis. H.B. 305, effective September 1, 2019).
Filing requirements are per state statute, available at https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/candidates/guide/2020/index.shtml, and those of the City of La Porte Charter, Article II, at LaPorteTX.gov/Charter. (Charter Qualifications - the mayor and councilpersons shall have been a qualified voter of the City for twelve months immediately preceding election day, and continuously during the term of office. A district councilperson shall also be a resident of his or her district for twelve months immediately preceding election day, and continuously during the term of office.)
Positions for election in 2020 are Councilperson At-Large Position B, Councilperson-District 1, and Councilperson-District 6.
- Click here for the Notice of Election for the City of La Porte General Election on May 2, 2020
- Click here for the Notice of Deadline to File an Application For a Place on the Ballot for the May 2, 2020 General Election.
- Click here for the May 2, 2020, CoLP Candidate Packet.
- Click here for the Notice of Drawing for Place on the Ballot (ballot order drawing). - The drawing for ballot order will take place in the City Council chamber on Tuesday, February 18, at 8:30 a.m. and is open to the public.
Ballot Order Drawing Press Release, February 18, 2020
La Porte voters will vote on City Council and La Porte Independent School District (LPISD) races on the May 2, 2020, general election ballot. Voters in La Porte Council Districts 2-5 will be able to vote for the City Councilperson At-Large Position B race, while voters in La Porte Council Districts 1 and 6 will be able to vote for the City Councilperson At-Large Position B race and their respective City Councilperson District race. Voters in City of La Porte Districts 1-6 and LPISD Districts 1-7 will make selections for the LPISD Positions 1, 2, and 3 races. (LPISD voters in LPISD Districts 8-9 will vote in Shoreacres or Morgan’s Point, respectively.) Notification of ballot application filing for the elections ran from December 15, 2019-January 14, 2020, and ballot applications were accepted January 15-February 14, 2020, for each of the positions listed.
The drawing for ballot order for City Council races was held Tuesday morning, February 18, where candidates drew for ballot placement in the order in which they filed ballot applications. The City Councilperson ballot order results were as follows:
At Large B – Brent McCaulley, Ti O’Daniel, William R. Geistman, Chuck Rosa
District 1 – Trey Kendrick is unopposed on the ballot
District 6 – Gary Rohr, Robbie McLarrin, Randy Rowan, Randy Daily
LPISD held a ballot order drawing Monday evening, February 17, with the ordered results as below:
Trustee, Position #1 - Place 1: Lois E. Rogerson - Place 2: Russell Schoppe
Trustee, Position #2 - Place 1: Kathy Green - Place 2: Mason Peres
Trustee, Position #3 - Place 1: Chris Murdock - Place 2: Dennis L. Slate
Early voting will begin Monday, April 20, and run weekdays through Tuesday, April 28, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Extended voting from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. will be conducted on Tuesdays, April 21 and April 28. Election day voting on Saturday, May 2, will be from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Early voting will be conducted at two locations, City Hall (604 West Fairmont Parkway as the main early voting location) and the La Porte ISD Instructional Technology Center (ITC Building, 9832 Spencer Highway, as a branch early voting location). Registered voters of La Porte Districts 1-6 or LPISD Districts 1-7 may vote at either location during early voting. (LPISD voters in LPISD Districts 8-9 will vote in Shoreacres or Morgan’s Point, respectively.)
On election day, May 2, voters registered in La Porte Council Districts/La Porte election precincts 1, 2, 3, and 6 will vote only at the ITC Building (and only for the races as noted above) and those in La Porte Council Districts/La Porte election precincts 4 and 5 will vote only at City Hall (for the At Large B race and their respective District race, as noted above). Voters of LPISD Election Precinct 7 will vote for the LPISD races only, at College Park Elementary School (foyer between cafeteria and gym), 4315 Luella Avenue, in Deer Park. There will not be any La Porte City Council voting at the College Park location. (LPISD voters in LPISD Districts 8-9 will vote in Shoreacres or Morgan’s Point, respectively.)
The state of Texas provides that certain voters may apply to vote by mail. The Secretary of State’s form to apply for a ballot by mail is available at https://webservices.sos.state.tx.us/forms/5-15f.pdf or is available upon request by mail to the City Secretary, 604 West Fairmont Parkway, La Porte, TX 77571; by fax to 281- 842-3701; or via email to CitySecretary@LaPorteTX.gov. Those interested may also contact the office of the City Secretary at 281-470-5021 for more information. Voters are not required to use the State application. Any application received that is not on the State’s form is considered an "informal application" and may be accepted if it contains all the following information: 1. Name and residence address of registration of applicant. 2. Address to which ballot is to be mailed. 3. Indication of each election for which the voter is applying. 4. The ground of eligibility for voting by mail. 5. If the ground is absence from the county, an indication that the voter satisfies that ground (provides a mailing address outside the county of residence). 6. The signature of the applicant. Friday, April 17, 2020, is the last day an application for ballot by mail may be submitted in person, as early voting begins on Monday, April 20, 2020. Applications for a ballot by mail received by mail, common or contract carrier, fax, or by electronic submission of a scanned application with an original signature may be received through Monday, April 20, 2020.
Elections in the City of La Porte are conducted in accordance with the Texas Election Code and the City Charter. For more information, contact the City Secretary’s Office at 281-470-5021 or by email at CitySecretary@LaPorteTX.gov, or visit the City’s election page at LaPorteTX.gov/Elections or LaPorteTX.gov/Elecciones.- Click here for Ordinance 2020-3771 calling the May 2, 2020, General Election.
Voter Identification Changes
Voter ID Information
VOTER REGISTRATION CARDS - HARRIS COUNTY IS CORRECTING THEM
Registered voters in La Porte have been receiving their new voter registration cards from the Harris County Voter Registrar. Unfortunately, the cards indicate La Porte voters live in League City, although the other information on the cards appears to be correct.
The Harris County Voter Registrar’s Office has confirmed that “voters shall receive a corrected replacement within 5-10 business days.”
As a reminder, the state of Texas requires voters to show photo identification when they vote, not solely a voter registration card. More information on the acceptable forms of photo I.D. is available at VoteTexas.gov, a full state resource for Texas voters.
Information on the City of La Porte general election on May 2, 2020, may be found at LaPorteTX.gov/Elections or LaPorteTX.gov/Elecciones.
The General Election for members of City Council is held annually on the 1st Saturday in May.
May 2, 2020 Sample Ballots - Per the Texas Election Code, sample ballots may only be printed on yellow paper. These scanned sample ballots are suitable for color printers. If you choose to print them in black and white, you must use yellow paper. Only yellow sample ballots will be permitted to be brought into a City polling location. Sample ballots are posted in the City Hall lobby adjacent to the City Council chamber and copies are available from the City Secretary's Office at City Hall (604 West Fairmont Parkway).
To register to vote, find upcoming election dates, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the Texas Secretary of State's special voter page, VoteTexas.gov. For additional general information, please visit the Secretary of State's website. Also informative is the League of Women Voters page.
It's election season, when campaign signs pop up like bluebonnets! The City of La Porte has advised City Council candidates that campaign signs for the May 2 general election may now be placed publicly until ten days following the election (unless candidates are involved in a run-off election).
Most campaign signs are placed on private property, with the permission of the owner of the property. Some candidates may choose to place campaign signs on City property, as this is not prohibited by the City Code. Candidates and their supporters who place signs on City property must remember that City facilities are there to provide services to citizens and the grounds must be maintained, and should consider placements that are reasonable and respect these requirements.
The City of La Porte does not endorse or oppose any candidate or proposition on the ballot and political signs placed on City property do not indicate any manner of support.
The City Code of Ordinances provides general campaign sign placement guidelines in Section 106-873, which can be found at LaPorteTX.gov/PoliticalSigns.
For polling locations during early voting and on election day, state guidelines require campaign materials and activities to be outside a marked 100’ distance from the polling location entrance.
The City may remove signs placed in the rights-of-way. The City is unlikely to be informed if others remove signs (HOAs, landscaping crews, etc.), from private property, especially windblown signs that have come off their frames.
The Texas Ethics Commission, not the City, provides authority, oversight, and enforcement for issues related to the message content of political signs, not the City. The Texas Department of Transportation governs sign placement on state roadways, as Harris County does for county roads.
Find more election information, including registration, early voting, and ballot by mail guidelines, on the City website at LaPorteTX.gov/Elections or LaPorteTX.gov/Elecciones.
Para registrarse para votar, encuentre las fechas de eleccion proximas, y respuestas a preguntas hechas con frecuencia, por favor visite la pagina de votante especial del Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Texas en VoteTexas.gov. Para informacion general adicional de la oficina del Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores, por favor visite www.sos.state.tx.us.