Precinct Chair Election Changes

Precinct Chair Election Changes

Precinct Chair Election Changes

Robert West | November 11, 2021

Are you running for Precinct Chair in Texas? Then you need to read this.

Elections changes have been voted and signed into law for Precinct Chair positions. There have also been some strong hits from our elected to protect their power base.

Greg Abbott lobbied to get a particular person to replace Col. Allen West as Chairman, Republican Party of Texas. He missed by 6 votes.

State Representative Keith Bell gathered a slate of precinct chair candidates last time around to take over the Kaufman County GOP Executive Committee; he failed.

A few weeks ago, he managed to get a 20-year-old staffer he selected to replace the County Chair that recently passed away.

Earlier this year in a bill I called the “Make it Harder for Allen West to Run for Governor Act.”

The Texas legislature passed a law that required an officer of the Republican or Democratic Party of Texas to resign from office prior to running for any public office.

That does not sound too bad but the GOP is a .org not a .gov. Add to that, when was the last time a Republican governor stepped down before running for President?

When was the last time a Texas Senator or State Representative stepped down before running for Congress? 

If the state can require an officer in a private political organization to step down before running for public office, can they later decide to expand that to a civic or religious organization?

Taken together, these acts seem to indicate that the elected would rather run the political parties than do the job they are hired to do in the first place.

Senate Bill 13

The latest issue is a change in election law, Senate Bill 13, 87th Leg., 2d C.S., 2021.

Below is the important section, read the entire bill at Texas House of Representatives

(h) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, an election for the office of precinct chair held in 2022 shall be held on the same date as the runoff primary election held in 2022 and the precinct chair shall be elected by plurality vote.  The secretary of state shall set the dates of the filling period for the election of the precinct chair and shall adjust the schedule for performing any official act relating to an election held under this subsection as necessary for the efficient and orderly administration of the election.

Census Data to Redraw Lines

Texas did not get the census data to redraw the lines from the federal government in time to take care of redistricting in the regular session. 

Instead of delaying the election they chose to follow the regular schedule.

This means instead of announcing and running for office a year or even six months before the primary election, many challengers had no idea what district they would even live in six months ago.

If you take into account that many in elected office have been campaigning since before, they were ever elected and never stopped. It makes it a challenge to compete given the primaries will be held on March 1st.

People Running for Precinct Chair

Why does this matter to people running for precinct chair positions?

Because the legislature wanted to get incumbents re-elected, the voting precincts are still being drawn, even as people are filing to run for precinct chair positions.

Don’t worry though, the legislature has seen fit to move the normal time to elect precinct chairs from the GOP primary to the GOP runoff election.

So, while State Senators, with over a million voters only have a few months to campaign, precinct chairs, with only a few hundred voters will get close to 3 additional months to campaign. That is the good news.

Wait, you say. What if there are three people in the race and nobody gets 50% plus one?

How do we have a runoff if the election happens in a runoff?

Well, boys and girls you don’t. The legislature has decided this will be a plurality election.

That is right, no silly majority is required for these elections, you just have to get one more vote than whoever comes in second place.

So, in theory, if 20 people ran for precinct chair and everyone else received 4 or 5 votes out of 100, the person with 6 would be the clear choice.

Filling Out Forms Completely

The forms for precinct chairs also have a couple of things on the BACK of the form you have to fill out. Remember, if you don’t fill out the form completely, they can be rejected.

  • One of these is if you have ever been accused or convicted of a felony.
  • The other is your length of residency in Texas and your voting precinct.

This last seems odd because there is no length of time requirements in either the precinct or the state for this office but not filling these out can get your application rejected.

We have thousands of precinct chair positions across Texas that are empty, we have even more that need to be replaced.

The time for the “do nothing” and “social club” Republicans is over.

Citizens Ready to Act

We need to get serious and elect citizens ready to ACT into these chairs.

If you have little time and might be intimidated to run for office, then this is the position for you. The people in your individual voting precinct are the only ones voting for these positions; that is about 100 to 5,000 voters max.

Since the precinct chair elections this year will take place in the “primary runoff” expect only 10% of voters to show up and be from your party.

People have run for this office and won with only 7 votes, meaning the other person received less. A box of business cards and some shoe leather and you should win by a landslide. I'm asking you to take one step up...

Robert West