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There will be no city elections this November

Here’s the early version of the story. I’ll add a link to the full story in the morning.

The Texas Supreme Court on Monday denied plantiffs’ attempts to expedite their case challenging the [2015 term limits referendum] ballot language that lengthened city officials’ terms two years ago, making it unlikely the matter will be resolved before the state’s August 21 deadline to order a fall election.

Instead, the case is positioned to return to trial court for a hearing on whether the wording of the city’s proposition authorizing two four-year terms, instead of three two-year terms, was too obscure.

“There’s no way,” Austin election lawyer Buck Wood said. “I don’t see any way that they’re going to get any final order in time for the filing deadline.”

Plaintiffs’ attorney Eric Dick conceded the timing makes a November mayoral election “unlikely.”

“But I don’t think it’s impossible,” Dick added, saying he plans to ask the high court to reconsider its decision.

See here for the background, and here for a copy of the court’s order, which actually came down on Monday. We were getting dangerously close to what I figured would be the functional deadline for a ruling on the mandamus, in order to ensure enough time for people to file for office if they needed to. This doesn’t mean that we won’t get another election until 2019 – I’ve heard many people speculate about a special election next May, which I suppose could happen – but barring anything unexpected at this point, the case will plod on through the appeals process, which suggests that the people who were elected in 2015 will get to serve out most if not all of that four-year term.

UPDATE: Interestingly, there doesn’t appear to be a fuller version of this story on the website, and there was nothing I could find in the print edition this morning. Maybe tomorrow.

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6 Comments

  1. neither here nor there says:

    Good two four years terms is much better. Now if only the county were the same.

  2. James says:

    The current ruling on the Rebuild (Renew) Houston ballot language overturned that election result and requires it to be back on the ballot in the next ‘city election’. Had the term limit issue also been overturned that would have forced RH back on the ballot this November as well.

  3. Erik Manning says:

    Thank you for this article. I was disappointed at how little this issue was getting covered. I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon trying to track down whatever information I could find, and it was sparse at best. So much attention is being paid to what’s going on in Austin and DC that local issues are getting lost in the shuffle.

  4. N.M. Horwitz says:

    What a relief to be wrong.

    The issue now gets fully litigated. So lets say in the spring of this year or even the year after, the SCOTX holds the language invalid? I wonder if they will not hold elections until 11/2019 or hold snap ones within 30 days of the decision.

    I’ll admit I’m not familiar with precedent on this issue, but it seems to me that if the proposition is thrown out, two year terms would still be the law of the land, and thereby Turner and the Council would lack retroactively legitimacy as of 01/02/2018. It could be a big chocolate mess.

  5. Jason Hochman says:

    Has Mayor Turner released his tax returns yet?

  6. jason, why should I care about Mayor Turner’s tax return?

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