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(a) The primary elections in a county may be conducted jointly at the regular polling places designated for the general election for state and county officers. The county clerk shall supervise the overall conduct of the joint primary elections. This section applies to the conduct of joint primary elections notwithstanding and in addition to other applicable provisions of this code. The decision to conduct a joint general primary election or runoff primary election, as applicable, must be made by majority vote of the full membership of the commissioners court and with the unanimous approval of the county clerk and the county chair of each political party required to nominate candidates by primary election.
(b) The county clerk shall determine whether to consolidate election precincts under Section 42.009 and shall designate the location of the polling place in a consolidated precinct. To the extent possible, a polling place shall be designated that will accommodate the precinct conventions of each political party. If a polling place, whether for a regular or consolidated precinct, is not suitable for more than one precinct convention, the polling place may be used by the party whose candidate for governor received the most votes in the county in the most recent gubernatorial general election.
(c) One set of election officers shall conduct the primary elections at each polling place. Not later than the second Monday in December preceding the primary elections, each county chair shall deliver to the county clerk a list of the names of the election judges and clerks for that party. The presiding judge of each party, or alternate judge if applicable, serves as a co-judge for the precinct. If an eligible presiding co-judge and alternate co-judge cannot be found to serve for a particular party in a precinct, a joint primary may not be conducted in that precinct, and that precinct must be consolidated with another precinct that has an eligible presiding co-judge and alternate co-judge to serve for each party. The county clerk shall appoint the election clerks in accordance with rules prescribed by the secretary of state. The secretary of state shall prescribe the maximum number of clerks that may be appointed for each precinct. The early voting ballot board and any central counting station shall also be composed of and administered by one set of election officers that provides representation for each party, and the secretary of state by rule shall prescribe procedures consistent with this subsection for the appointment of those officers.
(d) Each co-judge has the law enforcement duties and powers provided under Section 32.075. Each co-judge has the exclusive authority to conduct challenges on the eligibility of voters, tabulate the votes, and deliver the election returns in the primary of the party with which that judge is affiliated or aligned.
(e) The county clerk shall obtain the candidates' names that are to appear on the primary ballot, office sought, and candidate and office ballot order from the certified list on the secretary of state's website.
(f) The county clerk shall determine the ballot format and voting system for each election precinct and shall procure the election equipment and supplies.
(g) A separate set of ballot boxes or other suitable containers approved by the secretary of state shall be used for each party's primary, except that one set of ballot boxes or other containers may be used in a joint primary using an electronic voting system in which the ballots are deposited by the voters directly into a unit of automatic tabulating equipment. The lists of registered voters and the voters' registration certificates shall be marked and stamped to show the appropriate party affiliation for each voter. A separate list of registered voters shall be used for each party's primary. The secretary of state by rule shall prescribe requirements to ensure that one party's ballot is readily distinguished from another's, which may include the use of different colors of ink.
(g-1) A voter shall be allowed privacy to the extent possible when indicating the voter's choice as to which political party's primary the voter chooses to vote in. A voter may indicate, without verbalizing, the voter's choice by pointing to which party's ballot the voter chooses. The secretary of state shall prescribe a sign to inform voters of this option, and the co-judges of each polling place shall post the sign beside the signature roster.
(h) Separate election returns shall be prepared for each party's primary and shall be canvassed as provided by this code.
(i) The secretary of state by rule shall prescribe the procedures necessary to implement this section to ensure the orderly and proper administration of joint primary elections.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Texas Election Code - ELEC § 172.126. Joint Primaries Authorized - last updated April 14, 2021 | https://codes.findlaw.com/tx/election-code/elec-sect-172-126/
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