Attorney General Paxton Says Round Rock Can't Postpone Its May Elections Until Next Year
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has challenged Round Rock City Council’s decision to move its May 2020 elections to May 2021.
The council had originally chosen to move the elections to November because of the coronavirus pandemic but later opted to delay them until next year, a move Paxton says goes against one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s orders.
Abbott issued a proclamation in March allowing municipalities to delay May elections until November because of the pandemic. Paxton sent a letter Thursday to Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan and council members stating that the proclamation does not allow them to postpone elections beyond Nov. 3.
In a 6-1 vote on July 9, the City Council opted for the year delay in order to be in compliance with Round Rock’s city charter, which requires elections be held at the same time each year, and a city ordinance.
"Our charter says that we will be on a uniform election date, and our ordinance says that uniform election date will be in May," Morgan said.
Paxton countered the council’s invocation of its charter in his letter, stating that “the Governor’s proclamation does not suspend the City’s charter” but “simply provided the Round Rock city council with an alternative option.”
“The governor’s proclamation allowed local elections that were scheduled to be held on May 2, 2020 to be moved to November 3, 2020,” Paxton said in a statement. “It was the Round Rock City Council’s decision to move its local election to November, not the governor’s. Because the law does not allow the City Council to move its election a second time in these circumstances, the city must hold its election in November, as it said it would.”
Council members have not commented on the letter.
The mayor and places 1 and 4 on the City Council were set to be on the ballot in May 2020, but current members planned to serve until those positions were filled.
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