Law:Title 6. Conduct Of Elections from Chapter 65. Counting Votes And Preparing Returns (Texas)

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Contents

Chapter 65. Counting Votes And Preparing Returns

Subchapter A. Counting Votes Generally

Section  65.001.  Counting Officers.

At each polling place, the ballots shall be counted by one or more teams of election officers assigned by the presiding judge. Each team must consist of two or more election officers.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.



Section  65.002.  Time For Counting.

(a) Subject to Subsection (b), the presiding judge may direct the counting of ballots to occur at any time after the polls have been open for one hour.

(b)  While the polls are open and until voting is concluded after the polls close, the ballot box for the deposit of voters' marked ballots may not be opened for the purpose of counting the ballots unless there are at least 10 ballots in the box.

(c)  After the polls close or the last voter has voted, whichever is later, the counting of ballots shall be conducted continuously until all the ballots are counted.

(d)  Repealed by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1235, Sec. 26(5), eff. September 1, 2009.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 1235, Sec. 26(5), eff. September 1, 2009.



Section  65.003.  Rotating Ballot Boxes No. 1 And No. 2.

(a) If the counting of the ballots is to begin before voting is concluded, ballot box no. 1 and ballot box no. 2 shall be used on a rotating basis at the polling place.

(b)  When either ballot box no. 1 or no. 2 containing marked ballots is delivered to the election officers counting the ballots, the other box shall be immediately made available for the deposit of marked ballots.

(c)  Before the ballot box is positioned for the receipt of marked ballots, an election officer shall examine it, remove its contents, and lock the box.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.



Section  65.004.  Tally Lists.

Three original tally lists shall be maintained at the polling place to record the number of votes received for the candidates and for and against the measures voted on.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.



Section  65.005.  Tallying The Votes.

(a) One member of the counting team shall examine each ballot and clearly announce the name of each candidate for whom a vote has been received or whether a vote has been received for or against a measure. The other members of the counting team shall record the votes on the tally lists as they are announced.

(b)  The counting team shall compare the tally lists periodically to determine whether discrepancies exist among them. If a discrepancy is discovered, the ballots shall be recounted and the necessary corrections shall be made on the lists.

(c)  On completing the count, each member of the counting team assigned to tally votes shall compute the total number of votes tallied on the list the member has kept and enter the totals on the tally list. After verifying that the three lists are in agreement, each counting officer shall sign the list that the officer has kept.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1078, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.



Section  65.006.  Replacing Member Of Counting Team.

(a) A member of a counting team may not be replaced after vote tallying is begun unless each existing discrepancy among the three tally lists is corrected before the replacement is made.

(b)  If a counting officer is replaced on a counting team after the tallying is begun, the officer to be replaced shall certify the accuracy of the list the officer has kept, as of the time of the replacement, by signing the list at that time.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.



Section  65.007.  Tallying Straight-party Votes.

(a) In an election in which a single square is provided on the ballot for casting a straight-party vote, the tally lists shall contain spaces for tallying those votes.

(b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c) or (d), each straight-party vote shall be tallied for the party receiving the vote instead of being tallied for the individual candidates of the party. The total number of straight-party votes tallied for each party shall be added to the total votes received for each of the party nominees individually.

(c)  If a ballot indicates a straight-party vote and a vote for an opponent of one or more of that party's nominees, a vote shall be counted for the opponent and for each of the party's other nominees whether or not any of those nominees have received individual votes.

(d)  If a ballot indicates straight-party votes for more than one party, those votes may not be tallied and a vote shall be counted for each candidate receiving an individual vote if no other individual votes are received in that race. If no candidate receives an individual vote, the portion of the ballot for offices may not be counted.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 728, Sec. 17, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  65.008.  Tallying Write-in Votes.

(a) In an election in which write-in voting is permitted, the name of a write-in candidate shall be entered on the tally list and votes for that candidate shall be tallied in the same manner as votes for a candidate whose name appears on the ballot.

(b)  A write-in vote may not be counted if a sticker containing a candidate's name is affixed to the ballot by the voter.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.



Section  65.009.  Counting Irregularly Marked Ballot.

(a) Failure to mark a ballot in strict conformity with this code does not invalidate the ballot.

(b)  Marking the ballot by marking through the names of candidates for whom or the statements beside the propositions for which the voter does not desire to vote does not invalidate the ballot.

(c)  A vote on an office or measure shall be counted if the voter's intent is clearly ascertainable unless other law prohibits counting the vote.

(d)  The intent of the voter in marking a ballot may be determined by:

(1)  a distinguishing mark adjacent to the name of a candidate or political party or a voting choice associated with a proposition;

(2)  an oval, box, or similar marking clearly drawn around the name of a candidate or political party or a voting choice associated with a proposition;

(3)  a line drawn through:

(A)  the names of all candidates in a manner that indicates a preference for the candidates not marked if the names of the candidates not marked do not exceed the number of persons that may be elected to that office;

(B)  the name of each political party except one in a manner that clearly indicates a preference for the political party not marked; or

(C)  a voting choice associated with a proposition in a manner that clearly indicates a preference for the other voting choice associated with the proposition; or

(4)  any other evidence that clearly indicates the intent of the voter in choosing a candidate or political party or deciding on a proposition.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1315, Sec. 33, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.



Section  65.010.  Ballots Not Counted.

(a) The following ballots may not be counted:

(1)  a ballot that is not provided to the voter at the polling place;

(2)  two or more ballots that are folded together in a manner indicating that they were folded together when deposited in the ballot box;

(3)  a write-in envelope containing a write-in vote without an attached ballot;

(4)  a ballot that has not been deposited in the ballot box used for the deposit of marked ballots; or

(5)  a provisional ballot that is not accepted under Subchapter B.

(b)  If a ballot is unnumbered or the signature of the presiding judge does not appear on the back of a ballot, the presiding judge shall examine it to determine whether the ballot is not to be counted under Subsection (a)(1).

(c)  If a ballot is not counted, an election officer shall indicate on the back of the ballot the reason for not counting it.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 728, Sec. 18, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1078, Sec. 13, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1315, Sec. 34, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.



Section  65.011.  Overvoting.

Except as provided by Section 65.007(c) or (d), if a voter marks the ballot for more candidates for an office than the number of persons to be elected for that office, none of the votes may be counted for that office.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 728, Sec. 19, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.



Section  65.012.  Depositing Ballot In Ballot Box No. 3. (a

) After a ballot is counted, it shall be deposited in ballot box no. 3.

(b)  A voted ballot that is not counted shall also be deposited in ballot box no. 3.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.



Section  65.013.  Ballot Register.

(a) Each presiding judge shall prepare a ballot register as provided by this section.

(b)  The register must state:

(1)  the total number of ballots received for conducting voting at the polling place;

(2)  the number of defectively printed ballots received;

(3)  the number of ballots provided to voters as indicated by the number of voters on the poll list;

(4)  the number of spoiled ballots returned by voters; and

(5)  the number of unused ballots that are not accounted for as defectively printed ballots.

(c)  The ballot register shall be prepared as an original and one copy, and on completing the register, the presiding judge shall sign each one to certify its accuracy.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.



Section  65.014.  Preparing The Precinct Returns.

(a) On completion of the vote count, the presiding judge shall prepare the returns of the election for the precinct.

(b)  The returns must state:

(1)  the total number of voters who voted at the polling place as indicated by the poll list; and

(2)  the total number of votes counted for each candidate and for and against each measure.

(c)  The returns shall be prepared as an original and three copies, and on completing the returns, the presiding judge shall sign each one to certify its accuracy.

(d)  A presiding judge commits an offense if the judge knowingly fails:

(1)  to include in the precinct returns the applicable information required by this code; or

(2)  to complete the returns in time for them to be delivered by the deadline prescribed by Section 66.053(c) for delivery of the precinct election records.

(e)  An offense under Subsection (d) is a Class B misdemeanor.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.



Section  65.015.  Announcing Partial Results.

(a) Subject to Subsection (b), after the polls close and the last voter has voted, the presiding judge may announce the status of the vote count from time to time.

(b)  The local canvassing authority may require the announcements or prohibit them.

(c)  The announcements shall be made at the entrance to the polling place.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 211, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986.



Subchapter B. Verification And Counting Of Provisional Ballots

Section  65.051.  Duty Of Early Voting Ballot Board.

(a) The early voting ballot board shall verify and count provisional ballots as provided by this subchapter not later than the seventh day after the date of an election.

(b)  Except as provided by this subchapter, the conduct of the board is governed by the same procedures as are provided by Chapter 87.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1315, Sec. 35, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.



Section  65.052.  Duty Of Voter Registrar.

The secretary of state shall prescribe procedures by which the voter registrar of the county in which a provisional ballot is cast shall provide assistance to the early voting ballot board in executing its authority under this subchapter.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1315, Sec. 35, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.



Section  65.053.  Delivery Of Provisional Ballots.

The presiding judge of an election precinct shall deliver in person to the general custodian of election records the box containing each envelope containing a provisional ballot that was cast in the precinct. The secretary of state shall prescribe procedures by which the early voting ballot board may have access to the provisional ballots as necessary to implement this subchapter.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1315, Sec. 35, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.



Section  65.054.  Accepting Provisional Ballot.

(a) The early voting ballot board shall examine each affidavit executed under Section 63.011 and determine whether to accept the provisional ballot of the voter who executed the affidavit.

(b)  A provisional ballot may be accepted only if the board determines that, from the information in the affidavit or contained in public records, the person is eligible to vote in the election and has not previously voted in that election.

(c)  If a provisional ballot is accepted, the board shall enter the voter's name on a list of voters whose provisional ballots are accepted.

(d)  If a provisional ballot is rejected, the board shall indicate the rejection by marking "rejected" on the envelope containing the provisional ballot.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1315, Sec. 35, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1078, Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2007.



Section  65.055.  Disposition Of Accepted Provisional Ballot And Affidavit.

(a) The early voting ballot board shall open each envelope containing an accepted provisional ballot without defacing the affidavit located on the outside of the envelope and shall remove the ballot.

(b)  The board shall place the ballot in a ballot box containing all the provisional ballots accepted for voting in the election.

(c)  For each accepted provisional ballot, the board shall place the corresponding envelope on which is printed the voter's affidavit executed under Section 63.011 in a sealed envelope and shall deliver the envelope to the general custodian of election records, to be retained for the period for preserving precinct election returns.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1315, Sec. 35, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.



Section  65.056.  Disposition Of Rejected Provisional Ballot.

(a) If the affidavit on the envelope of a rejected provisional ballot contains the information necessary to enable the person to register to vote under Chapter 13, the voter registrar shall make a copy of the affidavit under procedures prescribed by the secretary of state. The voter registrar shall treat the copy as an application for registration under Chapter 13.

(b)  The early voting ballot board shall place the envelopes containing rejected provisional ballots in an envelope and shall seal the envelope. More than one envelope may be used if necessary.

(c)  The envelope for the rejected provisional ballots must indicate the date and identity of the election, be labeled "rejected provisional ballots," and be signed by the board's presiding judge.

(d)  A board member shall deliver the envelope containing the rejected provisional ballots to the general custodian of election records to be preserved for the period for preserving the precinct election records. The envelope may not be placed in the box containing the accepted provisional ballots.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1315, Sec. 35, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.



Section  65.057.  Processing Accepted Provisional Ballots.

(a) The early voting ballot board shall count accepted provisional ballots as follows:

(1)  for ballots to be counted manually, in the manner provided by Subchapter D, Chapter 87;

(2)  for ballots to be counted by automatic tabulating equipment at a central counting station, in the manner provided by Subchapter F, Chapter 87; and

(3)  for ballots to be counted by any other means, in the manner provided by rules adopted by the secretary of state.

(b)  On counting the ballots under this section, the board shall report the results to the local canvassing authority for the election.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1315, Sec. 35, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.



Section  65.058.  Preservation Of Provisional Voting Records Generally.

The returns of provisional ballots that are accepted, the accepted ballots, and other provisional voting records shall be preserved after the election in the same manner as the corresponding precinct election returns.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1315, Sec. 35, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.



Section  65.059.  Notice To Provisional Voter.

The secretary of state shall prescribe procedures to implement a system to allow a person who casts a provisional ballot under Section 63.011 to obtain access free of charge to information on the disposition of the person's ballot. The system:

(1)  must allow the person to determine whether the person's ballot was counted, and, if the person's ballot was not accepted, must indicate the reason why;

(2)  must provide the information only to the person who cast the provisional ballot; and

(3)  may involve the use of a toll-free telephone number or the Internet.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1315, Sec. 35, eff. Jan. 1, 2004.



Section 65.060.  Disclosure Of Social Security, Driver's License, Or Personal Identification Number On Provisional Ballot Affidavit.

A social security number, Texas driver's license number, or number of a personal identification card issued by the Department of Public Safety furnished on a provisional ballot affidavit is confidential and does not constitute public information for purposes of Chapter 552, Government Code.  The general custodian of election records shall ensure that a social security number, Texas driver's license number, or number of a personal identification card issued by the Department of Public Safety is excluded from disclosure.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1107, Sec. 1.13, eff. September 1, 2005.


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