Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2689
By: Maxey


Currently, political parties manage their own primary elections even though
county governments could administer these elections less expensively.
Polling places for primary elections may vary from the general election
locations, causing inconvenience and confusion for voters.  House Bill 2689
provides for joint primary elections, the streamlining of the primary
election process, and the designation of primary election locations. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the secretary of state in SECTION 16
(Section 172.1113, Election Code) of this bill. 


H.B. 2689 amends the Election Code to require each primary election to be
conducted jointly by the political parties, and sets forth procedures for
conducting joint primary elections.  The bill requires the secretary of
state to prescribe by rule procedures to appoint election officers for a
joint primary election. If a polling place is not suitable for more than
one precinct convention, the bill authorizes the party whose candidate for
governor received the most votes in the precinct in the most recent
gubernatorial general election to use the polling place.  The bill requires
the secretary of state to prescribe by rule the procedures for the
appointment of election officers and procedures necessary to ensure that a
party's ballot is readily distinguished from another's and that joint
primary elections are administered orderly and properly (Sec. 172.1113).  

House Bill 2689 amends the Election Code to remove the provision that
authorizes a county election officer to contract with a political party for
election services for a primary election (Sec. 31.092).   

H.B. 2689 requires the location of a primary election to be the same as the
regular polling place designated for the general election for state and
county officers unless the precinct is consolidated.  The bill requires a
polling place to be designated to the extent that it is possible to
accommodate the precinct conventions of each political party (Sec. 43.003). 

The bill provides for the certification of the names of the candidates and
the order of candidates' names on a general or primary election ballot for
a county (Secs. 172.028, 172.082, 172.084).  The bill modifies the process
by which candidates' names are certified for a runoff ballot for statewide
or district office and certified as nominees for those offices (Sec.
172.121 and 172.122). 

H.B. 2689 requires the governor, rather than the state executive committee
of a political party, to conduct the state canvass for the general primary
election (Sec. 172.120).     

H.B. 2689 requires the county clerk to submit a written statement to the
secretary of state regarding the estimated expenses to be incurred in
connection with a primary election (Sec. 173.0811).  The bill provides that
the initial installment for the expenses of a general or runoff primary is
equal to 80 percent, rather than  three-fourths or three-fifths, of the
amount of estimated general primary expense payable with state funds (Sec.
173.083).  The bill requires each county clerk to prepare a sworn report
containing an itemized list of the actual expenses incurred in connection
with the general and runoff primaries, regardless of whether state funds
are requested for paying the primary expenses (Sec. 173.084). 

The bill repeals provisions regarding the use of county-owned equipment for
primary elections, the acquisition of equipment by a political party for a
primary, the review and approval of a ballot by a primary committee,
expenses incurred by a county in connection with early voting in a primary
election, the financing of joint primary elections, and the authorization
of joint primaries (SECTION 38).  


September 1, 2001.