Provided by the Texas Secretary of State


Election Glossary


Qualified Voter: 11.002. Qualified Voter

In this code, "qualified voter" means a person who: (1) is 18 years of age or older; (2) is a United States citizen; (3) has not been determined mentally incompetent by a final judgment of a court; (4) has not been finally convicted of a felony or, if so convicted, has: fully discharged the person's sentence, including any term of incarceration, parole, or supervision, or completed a period of probation ordered by any court, or been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disability to vote; (5) is a resident of this state; and (6) is a registered voter.

Voter Registrar: 12.001. Designation of Voter Registrar

The county tax assessor-collector is the voter registrar for the county unless the position of county elections administrator is created or the county clerk is designated as the voter registrar.

County Clerk: Administers elections at the county level.

Elections Administrator: An appointed official who performs the election duties of the county clerk and the voter registrar. 31.031

Early Voting Clerk: 83.001. Early Voting Clerk Generally

The early voting clerk shall conduct the early voting in each election. The clerk is an officer of the election in which the clerk serves. The clerk has the same duties and authority with respect to early voting as a presiding election judge has with respect to regular voting, except as otherwise provided by this title.

Early Voting Ballot Board: 87.001. Board Created; Jurisdiction

An early voting ballot board shall be created in each election to process early voting results from the territory served by the early voting clerk.

Election Judge: 32.071. General Responsibility of Presiding Judge

The presiding judge is in charge of and responsible for the management and conduct of the election at the polling place of the election precinct that the judge serves.

Election Clerk: 32.072. Duties and Working Hours of Clerks

(a) The presiding judge shall designate the working hours of and assign the duties to be performed by the election clerks serving under the judge.

Volunteer Deputy Registrar: 13.031. Appointment

(a) To encourage voter registration, the registrar shall appoint as deputy registrars persons who volunteer to serve.

13.046. High School Deputy Registrars

(a) Each principal of a public or private high school or the principal's designee shall serve as a deputy registrar for the county in which the school is located.

Poll Watchers: 33.001. Watcher Defined

In this code, "watcher" means a person appointed under this subchapter to observe the conduct of an election on behalf of a candidate, a political party, or the proponents or opponents of a measure.

State Inspectors: 34.002. Duties and Privileges

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a state inspector is entitled to be present at and observe any function or activity at a polling place, central counting station, place of canvass, or other place at which official election or voter registration functions or activities take place. An inspector may take reasonable steps to obtain evidence of the manner in which a function or activity is being performed.


Precinct: 43.001. One Polling Place in Each Precinct

Each election precinct established for an election shall be served by a single polling place located within the boundary of the precinct.

County Election Precinct: 42.001. Precincts Established by Commissioners Court

Each commissioners court by order shall divide all the territory of the county into county election precincts in accordance with this subchapter. The precincts must be compact and contiguous.

Commissioner/JP/Constable Precinct

Polling Place: 43.004. Designation of Location: Elections of Other Political Subdivisions

The governing body of each political subdivision authorized to hold elections, other than a county, shall designate the location of the polling place for each of its election precincts.


Uniform Election Date: 41.001. Uniform Election Dates

(a) Except as otherwise provided by this subchapter, each general or special election in this state shall be held on one of the following dates:

(1) the second Saturday in May; or

(2) the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

(See Summary of 2005 Election Legislation at House Bill 57 for details on this change)

Early Voting: 85.001. Early Voting Period

(a) The period for early voting by personal appearance begins on the 17th day before election day and continues through the fourth day before election day, except as otherwise provided by this section.


Plurality: 2.001. Plurality Vote Required

Except as otherwise provided by law, to be elected to a public office, a candidate must receive more votes than any other candidate for the office.

Majority: More than 50%. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in an election requiring a majority, then a runoff election is required between the top two vote getters.

Election Order: 3.006. Contents of Election Order

In addition to any other elements required to be included in an election order by other law, each election order must state the date of the election and the offices or measures to be voted on at the election.

Notice: 4.004. Contents of Notice

The notice of a general or special election must state: (1) the nature and date of the election;
(2) except as provided by Subsection (c), the location of each polling place; (3) the hours that the polls will be open; and (4) any other information required by other law.

Voter Registration Certificate: 13.142. Initial Registration Certificate

After approval of a registration application, the registrar shall: (1) prepare a voter registration certificate in duplicate and issue the original certificate to the applicant; and (2) enter the applicant's county election precinct number and registration number on the applicant's registration application.

Statement of Residence: 11.004. Voting in Precinct of Former Residence

A registered voter who changes residence to another election precinct in the same county, if otherwise eligible, may vote a full ballot in the election precinct of former residence until the voter's registration becomes effective in the new precinct if the voter satisfies the residence requirements prescribed by Section 63.0011 and submits a statement of residence in accordance with that section.

Voter Registration List: 18.001. Original List of Registered Voters

Before the beginning of early voting for the first election held in a county in each voting year, the registrar shall prepare for each county election precinct a certified list of the registered voters in the precinct. The list must contain the name of each voter whose registration will be effective on the date of the first election held in the county in the voting year.

Official Ballot: 52.001. Official Ballot

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), the vote in an election is by official ballot. (b) If an official ballot is unavailable at a polling place, the presiding election judge shall provide a ballot designed in accordance with this chapter.

Provisional Voting (Challenge): Process available to a person whose name does not appear on the list of registered voters and who does not present a valid voter registration certificate, or who does not present any form of identification at the polls. Provisional voters are qualified and counted after election day.

Application for Ballot by Mail ("ABBM"): 84.001. Application Required

To be entitled to vote an early voting ballot by mail, a person who is eligible for early voting must make an application for an early voting ballot to be voted by mail as provided by this title.

Early Voting Roster: 87.121. Early Voting Rosters

The early voting clerk shall maintain for each election a roster listing each person who votes an early voting ballot by personal appearance and a roster listing each person to whom an early voting ballot to be voted by mail is sent.


101.001. Eligibility

A person is eligible for early voting by mail as provided by this chapter if: (1) the person is qualified to vote in this state or, if not registered to vote in this state, would be qualified if registered; and (2) the person is: (A) a member of the armed forces of the United States, or the spouse or a dependent of a member; (B) a member of the merchant marine of the United States, or the spouse or a dependent of a member; or (C) domiciled in this state but temporarily living outside the territorial limits of the United States and the District of Columbia.

Limited Ballot: 112.001. Limited Ballot

In this code, "limited ballot" means a ballot voted under this chapter that is restricted to the offices and propositions stating measures on which a person is entitled to vote under Section 112.004.

Central Counting Station: 127.001. Establishment of Central Counting Station

(a) The authority adopting an electronic voting system for use in an election may establish, in accordance with this subchapter, one or more central counting stations for counting the ballots if the voting system is designed to have ballots counted at a central location.


Application for Place on the Ballot: 141.031. General Requirements for Application

A candidate's application for a place on the ballot that is required by this code must: (1) be in writing; (2) be signed and sworn to by the candidate and indicate the date that the candidate swears to the application.

Declaration of Write-in Candidate: 146.023. Declaration of Write-In Candidacy Required

To be entitled to a place on the list of write-in candidates, a candidate must make a declaration of write-in candidacy.


Election Returns: 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.

Canvass: 67.004. Procedure for Local Canvass

(a) At the time set for convening the canvassing authority for the local canvass, the presiding officer of the canvassing authority shall deliver the sealed precinct returns to the authority. The authority shall open the returns for each precinct and canvass them as provided by this section. Two members of the authority constitute a quorum for purposes of canvassing an election.

Key to Ballot Box # 3: 66.060. Delivery and Preservation of Key to Ballot Box No. 3

(a) The presiding judge shall deliver the key to ballot box no. 3 in person to the following authority: (1) the sheriff, for an election ordered by the governor or a county authority or for a primary election, except that in a year in which the office of sheriff is regularly on the ballot the presiding judge shall deliver the key to the county judge, and if both those offices are on the same ballot because of the filling of an unexpired term the key shall be delivered to the county auditor or to a designated member of the commissioners court who is not on the ballot and who is appointed by the court if the county does not have a county auditor; (2) the chief of police or city marshal, for an election ordered by a city authority; or (3) the constable of the justice precinct in which the office of the political subdivision's governing body is located, or if the office of constable is vacant, the sheriff of the county in which the governing body's office is located, for an election ordered by an authority of a political subdivision other than a county or city.

Local Election Register: 67.006. Local Election Register

(a) An election register shall be maintained for each local canvassing authority.

Certificate of Election: 67.016. Certificate of Election

(a) After the completion of a canvass, the presiding officer of the local canvassing authority shall prepare a certificate of election for each candidate who is elected to an office for which the official result is determined by that authority's canvass.


Voting System Certification: 122.031. Approval of System and Equipment Required

(a) Before a voting system or voting system equipment may be used in an election, the system and a unit of the equipment must be approved by the secretary of state as provided by this subchapter.

Bilingual Requirements: 272.001. Bilingual Election Materials Required

Bilingual election materials printed in English and Spanish shall be used in elections in this state as provided by this chapter.

Submissions: Any change with respect to voting in a covered jurisdiction -- or any political subunit within it -- cannot legally be enforced unless and until the jurisdiction first obtains preclearance. Section 5 provides that preclearance may be obtained by submitting the change to the U.S Department of Justice or from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. 42 U.S.C. 1973c.

Recounts: 211.002.

(1) "Recount" means the process conducted under this title for verifying the vote count in an election.

Election Contest: 221.003. Scope of Inquiry

(a) The tribunal hearing an election contest shall attempt to ascertain whether the outcome of the contested election, as shown by the final canvass, is not the true outcome because: (1) illegal votes were counted; or (2) an election officer or other person officially involved in the administration of the election: (A) prevented eligible voters from voting; (B) failed to count legal votes; or (C) engaged in other fraud or illegal conduct or made a mistake.