Will there be an update email the remainder of this week?
Nope! We will all be working on the virtual TML Annual Conference and
Exhibition. You won’t see an update, unless something needing
urgent reporting happens. See below for several COVID-19-related
On the eve of early voting, can you summarize what’s going on
with the election?
Sure! For starters, expanded early voting still starts
tomorrow thanks to the Governor’s July 27, 2020
Proclamation and Texas Supreme Court’s
ruling last week. Early voting for the November 3rd election takes place October 13 through
October 30 this year.
Election officials may not send mail-in ballot applications to
all qualified voters according to the Texas Supreme Court.
Only qualified voters with disabilities and those over 65 years of age may
vote by mail. Those individuals voting by mail-in ballot can (1) mail their
ballot in the US mail or (2) drop off their ballots at a single location per
county because of the Governor’s October 1, 2020
These issues remain pending in various courts and the odds of
the courts making a final determination affecting this election seem
Challenge to the Governor’s proclamation that each county may
only have one ballot drop-off location
Challenge that the Texas law about mail-in ballots violates
younger voters’ rights under the Constitution
Challenge to the procedures for rejecting a mail-in ballot
based on the signature
The Secretary of State has been an excellent resource by
providing election advisories
to help local officials navigate the challenges of the pandemic.
Finally, if a city got permission from the Comptroller’s
office to extend the expiration of its street maintenance sales tax by moving
its election to November 3, the city must report the results of the election
to the Comptroller’s office by November 20, 2020.
Also remember, we compile all of the relevant election-related
COVID updates here and the
virus-related lawsuits here.
TML Virtual Annual Conference and Exhibition Updates
Can I learn more about COVID-19 and cities at the TML
Conference and Exhibition?
Yes! Several sessions will assist city officials with
-COVID-19 and our state’s prosperity and opportunities in the
future: Listen to Margaret Spellings, former U.S. Secretary of
Education and President and CEO of Texas 2036, a data-driven long-term planning non-profit,
discuss what their research shows are the most important issues facing our
state today and tomorrow. She’ll discuss issues like health, broadband,
workforce, education, and government performance, and recommend ways cities,
businesses, and all Texans can work together to make sure our state is the
best place to live and work for years to come.
-Recovery from COVID-19: The way we approach recovery will
likely define Texas going forward. Our ultimate challenge is to make our
cities and state stronger than we’ve been in the past. In his virtual TML
Annual Conference session on October 14, Steven Pedigo, LBJ Urban Lab
director, will outline a Playbook for Resiliency, and offer strategies and
actions we can adopt now for a more prosperous future. Pedigo wants to
challenge Texans to “think about resiliency as a place’s capacity to weather
threats to its economy and its residents’ health, and even more broadly, as
the capacity of residents, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems
to survive, adapt, and grow, no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and
acute shocks they experience. The more resiliency a community has, the less
likely it is to break under pressure – and the faster it is to rebound.”
-Helping local hotels: Hotels are fighting their way out of a
halt in travel that has caused large-scale layoffs and temporary closures,
and industry leaders don’t expect a turnaround until a proven COVID-19
vaccine is developed. Scott Joslove, President and CEO of the Texas Hotel &
Lodging Association, said that in his 20 years in the business, he has never
seen such dire impacts. Listen in on Joslove’s session “Hotels Are Your
Partners in Economic Recovery” at the virtual TML Annual Conference and Exhibition on October 14 at
3:00 p.m. to hear what your city can do now to make a difference for your
hospitality community and local economy.
-Helping local retailers: Retail has been especially hard hit by
the pandemic with many beloved stores hanging out “for sale” signs as the
virus forces permanent closures. Innovations are helping the retail sector
weather the challenges with curbside shopping and delivery, but what does the
future hold? Listen in on “Retail Trends Post COVID-19” at the virtual TML Annual Conference and Exhibition on October 14 at
1:30 p.m. where C. Kelly Cofer and Aaron Farmer of The Retail Coach will
discuss how you can help foster a strong retail sector in your community.
Register here to hear these sessions at the virtual 2020
TML Annual Conference, and view more than 30 other conference sessions
related to disaster recovery and resilience.
Is the deadline for a city in a county of less than 500,000
population to draw down CRF funds approaching?
YES. Every city that is drawing CRF money from the Texas
Division of Emergency Management must submit its initial paperwork by FRIDAY,
OCTOBER 16. You can find your city’s allocation and the application
instructions on the TDEM CRF web page. For more details, visit Carrington
Is there news about yet another election-related lawsuit?
Of course there is. The Ping-Pong matches
continue! Just between the last Update and this one, a federal district
court ruled that Texas counties can provide multiple mail ballot drop off
boxes. Immediately following the ruling, the attorney general filed for
and received stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to
stop the use of multiple drop boxes.
According to an October 10 article in The Texas Tribune,
“Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an emergency stay
Saturday, seeking to halt a federal judge's ruling from Friday night that
said Texas counties can have multiple absentee ballot drop-off locations.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman's ruling blocked Gov. Greg Abbott's recent
order that sought to limit counties to just one such location.”
The attorney general issued the following press release to
accompany his appeal that would seem to make it harder for older, sick,
disabled, and other Texans to legitimately vote by mail:
“Attorney General Ken Paxton today filed an emergency motion for stay pending appeal in the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to block an unlawful district court
order that creates confusion on the eve of an election and threatens the
integrity of the election. On October 1, Governor Abbott issued a
proclamation allowing voters who are eligible to vote by mail to hand-deliver
their marked ballots to a designated county office at any time over the
course of several weeks leading up to Election Day. The proclamation enhances
ballot security by requiring those eligible voters who choose to hand-deliver
their ballots to go to a single early voting clerk’s office as publicly
designated by a county’s early voting clerk. However, yesterday, a district
court issued an injunction overriding Governor Abbott’s decision and
requiring county officials to accept hand-delivery of mail-in ballots at any
county annex or satellite office, not just a single designated office, even
though these annexes and satellite offices have variable security measures
and inconsistent practices to ensure the integrity of each ballot delivered.”
Then, according to a Tribune article on the following day (October 11):
“Texas counties are currently blocked from setting up multiple
drop-off locations for absentee ballots heading into the Nov. 3 general
election due to a temporary order from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
That order came hours after top Texas officials on Saturday again sought to
limit drop-off locations some voters use during the coronavirus pandemic.”
The attorney general issued another press release following
the Fifth Circuit stay:
“Attorney General Ken Paxton gave this statement after the
United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a temporary stay,
halting a district court order that purported to override Governor Greg
Abbott’s proclamation regarding mail-in ballots and threatens election
integrity: ‘I commend the Fifth Circuit for temporarily staying the
district court’s unlawful injunction while it considers our request for a
full stay pending appeal. This ensures that the Governor’s Proclamation
remains in effect.’”
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus
TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.