Oct

19

School board elections on the move

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : October 19, 2011

There will not be any area school board elections come May 2012 thanks to a change to the state’s election calendar.

Although all three school districts are still working out the details with their respective attorneys, the following moves are expected to be become official next month:

  • Malakoff will hold its school board elections in November of even-numbered years.
  • Trinidad will hold its school board elections in November of even-numbered years.
  • Eustace will hold its school board elections in May of odd-numbered years.

Moving the election calendar will also require an adjustment to the terms of current school board members; it is those details being worked out with the help of attorneys.

Cross Roads ISD has been holding its school board elections in November of even-numbered years since state law forced the change in 2006.

State law is once again the reason for change.

Henderson County Elections Coordinator Denise Hernandez told local officials in August that an adjustment to the state elections calendar made it impossible for the county to guarantee required voting machines to municipalities and school boards for May elections in even-numbered years.

Hernandez said the problem actually began with a 2009 change Congress made to the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which requires ballots be transmitted overseas no later than 45 days before a federal election. The problem in Henderson County is federal primary elections, which are held in March in even-numbered years. In the past, a runoff election from the primary was held in April, however that no longer allows enough time to meet the requirements of the MOVE Act. So this year, the Texas State Legislature changed the elections calendar to conduct primary runoffs on the May election day.

Hernandez said there aren’t enough voting machines to conduct runoff elections and city elections and school district elections. Because the machines are very expensive there is no chance of the county buying more, and because she is legally bound to prepare for a possible runoff election, she said she cannot guarantee the machines will be available for anyone else in May in even-numbered years.

Cities and school boards were left with three choices: hold elections every other May; hold elections every other November; or get their own equipment.

Considering recent budget cuts, it should come as no surprise that local school districts decided to move the election date rather than spend thousands on election equipment.

(Photo courtesy of Geek&Poke via Flickr)

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