KB Reference Desk: Election Canvass

Q:      Our district is currently conducting school board elections, with Election Day this Saturday, May 6, 2017. We have a school board meeting the following Monday. Can the new board members be named and sworn in at the Monday board meeting?

A:      No, the newly elected board members cannot file their statement of elected officer or be sworn in until the currently sitting board canvases the vote, which cannot occur until at least three calendar days after the election. Tex. Elec. Code 67.003(b)(1).

Typically the canvass must occur between the eighth and eleventh day after an election; however, if the election occurs on a uniform election day in May, the canvass period is longer, between the third and eleventh day following the election. Tex. Elec. Code 67.003.In actuality though, because the canvas cannot occur until the ballot board has verified and counted all provisional ballots, if applicable, and  counted all timely submitted absentee ballots cast outside the United States, the ballots may not be prepared for canvas by the third calendar day. Each district should work closely with their County Clerk in obtaining proper ballot information. 

Once received, canvassing must occur under a board meeting posted for at least 72 hours, with two board members constituting a quorum. No other school business can be conducted unless there is a full quorum present and the item is properly posted on the agenda. Regardless of the quorum, after the canvass, the presiding officer may issue Certificates of Election. After the canvassing and issuing of Certificates of Election, the newly elected trustees must file the Statement of Elected Officer with the Board President, and then the new trustees are eligible to take the oath of office and assume the duties of trustee. Tex. Elec. Code 67.016. While the oath of office can be administered by any public official (including a notary public) at any time after the votes are canvassed, the certificate of election issued, and the Statement of Elected Officer is filed, most trustees choose to take the oath during a board meeting or ceremony conducted by the district.

During the election process and canvassing of the votes, the currently sitting trustees holdover in their positions until the newly elected trustees take the oath of office, which officially transfers power from the prior trustee to the newly elected trustee.