The Alamo Colleges board has voted to postpone its trustee election past Nov. 3, further delaying an election originally scheduled for May.
Trustees voted in April to push back the May election after Gov. Greg Abbott told local government entities they could take such action in light of the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, trustees voted to ask state officials for permission to hold the election sometime other than November, fearing a lengthy ballot and voter fatigue during the general election.
Three of the board’s nine seats are up for election. With the delay, Jose Macias Jr. (D2), Marcelo Casillas (D4), and Joe Jesse Sanchez (D9) will hold their seats until an election takes place and the winning candidates are sworn in. Casillas and Sanchez’s terms were set to expire in May.
Macias was appointed after Trustee Denver McClendon announced he would step down. The seat was up for election in May and the winner would have finished the rest of McClendon’s term, which expired in May 2022.
Macias and Sanchez are running for re-election and voted in favor of the delay at a board meeting Tuesday. Casillas, who serves as the board’s chair and will not run again, abstained.
Trustees Roberto Zarate (D5) and Gene Sprague (D6) voted against the delay after an executive session where the matter was discussed. The board did not designate a day when the election will take place, but trustees Yvonne Katz (D7) and Clint Kinsbery (D8) urged the board to set a date quickly.
Alamo Colleges trustees will meet virtually on the matter Monday at noon. Monday is also the last day for governmental entities to approve items for the November ballot.
On July 30, Attorney General Ken Paxton addressed the issue of delaying elections in nonbinding guidance after the Round Rock City Council attempted to delay its elections past this November. Paxton wrote to Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan that the city did not have the power to postpone voting again.
“It was the Round Rock City Council’s decision to move its local election to November, not the governor’s,” Paxton wrote. “Because the law does not allow the City Council to move its election a second time in these circumstances, the city must hold its election in November, as it said it would.”
Paxton’s guidance is not legally binding, but could be used in a lawsuit if someone wanted to challenge the board’s decision.
The November ballot is likely to be lengthy – with national and state-level races on the ballot, local issues will be pushed to the bottom.