17 March 2020 – Special election for Senator seat postponed two months

Type of Intervention: Executive Order
Sectors Involved: Local Government
Intervention Categories: Legal and policy; Electoral changes
Level of Jurisdiction: Texas
Lead People/Agency: Governor Greg Abbott

Overview: Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation setting the special election for Texas State Senate District 14 on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. The special election will fill the seat being vacated by Senator Kirk Watson. The special election would ordinarily be held on Saturday, May 2, 2020, but the Governor utilized his powers under Chapter 418 of the Texas Government Code to suspend provisions of the Texas Election Code and allow the election to be held at the later date due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Full details here: https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-issues-proclamation-postponing-special-election-for-texas-senate-district-14

Type of Justification: Predicted cause-effect relationship
Evidence/Justification: Pursuant to Section 418.0 16 of the Texas Government Code, the Governor has the express authority to suspend the provisions of any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business or the orders or rules of a state agency if strict compliance with the provisions, orders, or rules would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with a disaster; and Saturday, May 2, 2020, is the first uniform election date occurring on or after the 36th day after the date the special election is being ordered, but holding the special election on that date would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the declared disaster by placing the public’s health at risk and threatening to worsen the ongoing public health crisis; and Section 41.0011 of the Texas Election Code provides that the Governor may order an emergency special election before the November uniform election date; and the circumstances presented by COVID-19 that justified declaring a state of disaster also constitute an emergency within the meaning of Section 41.0011 of the Texas Election Code. The Governor’s office continues to consult with the Secretary of State’s office on additional ways to ensure public health in any upcoming election.