In a unanimous vote on Thursday, Mayor Craig Morgan and the Round Rock City Council reversed their decision to delay their citywide elections until May 2021. The election will now be held on November 3, 2020.
One councilmember was absent due to a death in the family.
Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) had issued an opinion stating that Mayor Craig Morgan and the city council’s moratorium on the election ran afoul of state law.
Morgan asserted his belief in local control, even though his efforts were to delay a local election.
“There will be other battles to fight when it comes to local control, but this is not the one,” Morgan contended.
“This is not the time to take our city down that road. That said, tonight’s meeting and our meeting on July 23 is a perfect example of why it’s important to maintain and preserve our own self-governance at the local level.”
Morgan asserted that the council’s July 9 decision to hold the election in May 2021 is consistent with the city charter and city ordinances.
The new ordinance passed by the city council doesn’t mention the fact that Morgan and councilmembers tried to punt the election to next year.
Instead, it highlights the council’s earliest decision in April to hold the election on November 3 in accordance with Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order authorizing the postponement of local elections.
While the city states that Abbott’s proclamation “effectively canceled” the May election, the proclamation itself merely suspended certain election statutes to “allow” political subdivisions to exercise the option of postponing the election to November.
However, Morgan claims the city had no choice because Williamson and Travis Counties would not provide election services.
While it’s controversial whether city elections should have been canceled at all, the Texas Constitution does weigh in on the suspension of Texas law.
Art. I, Sec. 28 states, “No power of suspending laws in this State shall be exercised except by the Legislature.”
Morgan will run unopposed in the November 3 contest.
Michelle Ly and Tina Steiner will run for Place One on the city council, which is being vacated by Councilwoman Tammy Young.
Frank Ortega is challenging Councilman Will Peckham.
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan in Dallas. During the academic year, he coaches high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.