The Texas Senate last week passed a bill that would move bond, debt and tax elections to November where voter turnout is higher.
The bill, authored by Sen. Paul Bettencourt of Houston, Sen. Brian Birdwell of Granbury and Sen. Pat Fallon of Prosper, also places a limit on the wording length of propositions explaining the purposes of a bond election.
“Move these tax rate increase elections to where they belong, the November General Election where voter turnouts are much higher and the elections cost a fraction of what they are in the Dog Days of Summer,” Bettencourt said. “It is paramount that we provide transparency so all voters have a chance to confidently make their voice heard.”
Wylie ISD conducted a $193.7 million bond election Saturday, May 4, that passed with only 4.9 percent of registered voters participating. In May 2012, WISD held a $21.1 million bond election that saw turnout of six percent.
In contrast, the November 2018 General Election drew 67.86 percent of voters throughout Collin County.
SB 2219 requires that any election for the issuance of bonds or other debt be conducted on the General Election date in November, except when another day is approved by the governor, and limits the description of a bond proposal to one page of a ballot or one screen on an electronic voting machine.
“It is important that Texas works toward greater uniformity in the November election process,” Bettencourt said. “This bill is a step in the right direction to establish safeguards to ensuring all aspects of elections are fair for the voters and taxpayers.”
The measure next must be taken up in the Texas House.