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Election Advisory No. 2020-10


County Election Officials and County Chairs of Political Parties

From: Keith Ingram, Director of Elections
Keith Ingram's signature
Date: March 2, 2020
RE: Canvass and Recount Deadlines for the March 3, 2020 Primary Elections

Canvass Dates

The county chair or the county chair’s designee and, if available, at least one member of the county executive committee must conduct the local canvass on Thursday, March 12, 2020 at the hour specified by the county chair.  If a designee will conduct the canvass on behalf of the county chair, then that designee must be a member of the county executive committee, or if no member of the county executive committee is available, then the designee must be a resident of the county served by the committee who is affiliated with the same political party.  Tex. Elec. Code § 172.116.

The notice of the canvass must include the date, time, and location of the canvass and must be posted on the county party website or on the commissioners court bulletin board if the party does not maintain a website.  This notice should be posted no later than Monday, March 9, 2020 in order to meet the posting requirements.  Tex. Elec. Code § 172.116.

The certification of the final local canvass must be submitted through the TEAM system.  Detailed information and procedures for the certification of the local canvass will be provided to county officials. The final local canvass is concluded when the county chair digitally certifies the canvass report on the Secretary of State’s website.  The state chair must canvass the county election returns no later than Sunday, March 15, 2020 for all races with three or more candidates.  The state canvass for the remaining offices must be completed by Wednesday, March 25, 2020.  Tex. Elec. Code §§ 172.116, 172.120.

The county election officials may begin entering county data into TEAM following the submission of all election night returns (ENR).   Our office will notify county election officials when canvassing is open for data entry.   Reporting of county data may begin as early as Wednesday, March 4, 2020 if there are no outstanding provisional ballots or ballots by mail.  Otherwise, the county election officials should plan on beginning this process no later than Monday, March 9, 2020.  All county data entry should be entered no later than Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

Recount Filing Deadlines – Two or Fewer Candidates in a Race

The deadline for requesting a recount when there are two or fewer candidates is 5:00 PM of the second day after the final canvass is actually conducted.  For all county and precinct races, the final canvass is the local canvass.  For all district (including single county districts), federal, and statewide races, the final canvass is the state canvass.  Tex. Elec. Code § 212.028.

County and Precinct Races:

Local Canvass Filing Deadline
Thursday, March 12, 2020

5:00 p.m. Monday, March 16, 2020

(Extended by Section 1.006 to next business day)


Statewide and District Races:

The deadline to request a recount for a statewide or district office is 5:00 PM of the second day after the final canvass.  The deadline for the state executive committee to conduct the state canvass for all races with three or more candidates is Sunday, March 15, 2020.  The state canvass for all other offices must be completed by Wednesday, March 25, 2020.  Tex. Elec. Code § 172.120.

Contact the state executive committee for more information about when their scheduled canvass will be taking place.

Recount Filing Deadline – Three Candidates or More in a Race (Expedited)

Special expedited procedures apply for races in which a runoff could be required.  Regardless of whether the race was statewide, district, county, or for a precinct level office, the deadline to file a recount request is 2:00 PM of the first day after the actual local canvass.  The deadline for an expedited recount of state and district offices is determined by the date of the local canvass, not the state canvass.  Tex. Elec. Code § 212.083.

Local Canvass Filing Deadline
Thursday, March 12, 2020 2:00 p.m. Friday, March 13, 2020

Filing Authority

The filing authority for a recount petition for a statewide or district office is the state chair, and for a county or precinct office, the filing authority is the county chair.  Tex. Elec. Code § 212.026.

Reminder on Tie Votes and Automatic Recounts

In a race requiring a majority vote, the candidates in a runoff are the “top two” candidates; either the two with the highest and second-highest number of votes, or the two who tie for the highest number of votes. The Code provides that an automatic recount will be conducted in other rare circumstances (for example, a three-way tie for highest vote, or a tie for the second-highest vote). Tex. Elec. Code § 2.023.

Note that even though recounts can be requested by candidates based on unofficial returns, the automatic recount based on a tie should be based on the official canvassed returns. The county or state chair is responsible for requesting the recount, and the recount is conducted according to the same method of counting that was used on election night. Tex. Elec. Code §§ 216.003, 216.004.

For additional information on recounts, such as petition requirements and deposit calculations, please see the recount outline and forms posted on our website.

If you need additional assistance, you may contact the Elections Division toll-free at 1-800-252-VOTE(8683).