Texas Legislative Vacancies, Proposition 9 (2001)

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The Texas Legislative Vacancies Amendment, also known as Proposition 9, was on the November 6, 2001 ballot in Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure authorized the legislature to fill vacancies in the legislature without an election if a candidate is running unopposed in an election to fill the vacancy.[1][2]

Election Results

Texas Proposition 9 (2001)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 557,707 67.57%
No267,72432.43%

Election results via: Legislative Reference Library of Texas

Text of measure

Ballot title

The ballot title voters saw on their ballot read as:[3]

The constitutional amendment authorizing the filling of a vacancy in the legislature without an election if a candidate is running unopposed in an election to fill the vacancy.

[4]

Full text

The full text of the measure can be read here.

Constitutional changes

Proposition 9 amended Section 13 of Article 3 of the Texas Constitution.

Ballot summary

The state government provided an explanation of Proposition 9 which read as follows:[3]

In 1995, the Texas Election Code was amended to allow local

governments to cancel the election usually held to elect the members of its governing body if only one person would appear on the ballot for each office and no person had filed to run in the election as a write-in candidate. The rationale for this change was that if only one person could receive votes for an office, the results of the election would be known without having to incur the expense and time involved in holding an election. The result was a significant savings in election expenses for local governments, especially those with small populations that frequently only had one person qualify to be on the ballot for an office.

The application of this election cancellation procedure is limited by several provisions of the Texas Constitution that either expressly or impliedly require that certain officers be chosen at an election or to receive a majority of the votes cast at an election. In the case of a vacancy to the Texas Legislature, the constitution requires that the governor issue a “writ of election” to fill the vacancy—seeming to indicate that an election must be held. The constitutional amendment would authorize the legislature to dispose of the election requirement in the case of an election to fill a vacancy in which only one candidate has qualified and declared a candidacy.

House Bill No. 831, enacted by the 77th Legislature, Regular Session, 2001, contingent on the adoption of the constitutional amendment proposed by House Joint Resolution No. 47, would allow for the cancellation of a special election to fill a vacancy by the secretary of state in the same fashion that a local election may be canceled under the Texas Election Code. The bill would also require a declaration of a write-in candidacy before the election of a person running as a write-in candidate in a special election to fill a vacancy in the legislature. This is a necessary component in the determination of how many qualified and declared candidates are running for an office. [4]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing direct democracy in Texas

As laid out in Article 17 of the Texas Constitution, in order for a proposed constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot, the Texas State Legislature must propose the amendment in a joint resolution of both the Texas State Senate and the Texas House of Representatives. The joint resolution can originate in either the House or the Senate. The resolution must be adopted by a vote of at least two-thirds of the membership of each house of the legislature. That amounts to a minimum of 100 votes in the House of Representatives and 21 votes in the Senate.

See also

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References


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