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Election Commission, Committee, & Board

(Below is information about some of the boards, commissions, and committees that have specific roles in elections-related administration. For information about voting and elections in Hays County return to https://hayscountytx.com and choose the Elections icon)

Election Commission
The Election Commission is set up to address employment of the Elections Administrator in counties that have an administrator. Under HB 1678 and Texas Election Code, Sections 31.032-31.038, activities of the commission are defined as “the appointment, acceptance of resignation, or recommendation for termination of a county elections administrator or joint elections administrator.” No other duties are within the Election Commission’s scope.

Members of the Election Commission are the designated holders of the positions below.
Current 2019 holders are in (  ).

Hays County Judge, Chair (Ruben Becerra)
Hays County Clerk, Vice Chair (Elaine H. Cárdenas)
Hays County Tax Assessor-Collector, Secretary (Jenifer O’Kane)
Hays County Democratic Party Chair (Donna Haschke)
County Republican Chair (Russell Hayter)

Process
Recommendations of the Election Commission require a positive vote from 4 of the 5 members. At that point, the recommendations are forwarded to the Commissioners Court, where a simple majority must vote for the recommendations to go into effect.

Grounds for Suspension or Termination of an Elections Administrator
An administrator may be suspended or terminated at any time for “good and sufficient cause,” which the General Counsel has defined as egregious actions, such as partisan political involvement, fraud, or habitual drunkenness.

What is the County Election Board?
The County Election Board is responsible for decisions regarding appointment of Election Judges and members of the Early Voting Ballot Board and Signature Verification Committee. It only meets during Primary election years.

Members of the Election Board for general elections of state and county officers are:
Elections Administrator, Chair
County Judge
Party Chairs of all Parties on the General Election Ballot
County Sheriff

Early Voting Ballot Board
The Early Voting Ballot Board meets to qualify mail-in ballots, Provisionals and FPCA (overseas ballots).
The Early Voting Ballot Board in a county of 100,000-plus population may begin convening on the 8th day before the last day of the Early Voting period. Members can meet up to 4 times depending on the election.

Signature Verification Committee
A Signature Verification Committee can be called by the Early Voting Clerk (Elections Administrator).  The Early Voting Clerk sets the number of members needed and the dates/times of the meetings.  A Signature Verification Committee is not established in every election.

It meets prior to Election Day to compare signatures on mail-in ballot applications to those on the ballot envelope. The party chairs submit a list of names to be considered for the Committee. The Committee must be composed of a minimum of five registered voters.

Texas Secretary of State’s Office
The Secretary of State is the chief election officer for the State of Texas. The Secretary of State’s Elections Division provides assistance and advice to election officials on the proper conduct of elections. This includes hosting seminars and elections schools, providing calendars, ballot certification, primary election funding, and legal interpretations of election laws to election officials. The SoS also provides assistance to the general public on voter registration and other election issues through our 1-800 toll-free number, 1-800-252-VOTE (8683), and at https://sos.state.tx.us.

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