Update: Election Contests Putting HISTORIC $18 BILLION PROPERTY TAX RELIEF on Hold
By Lee D. Winston | December 6, 2023
Texas voters’ approval of the historic $18 billion property tax relief act, proposition 4, is on hold. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has not certified the results of the November 7th constitutional amendments election and is unable to until several lawsuits challenging the election are resolved. One of the lawsuits claims that the ES&S and Hart InterCivic voting systems used in the election have not been properly certified by a Voting System Test Laboratory and “do not meet the requirements for certification by the Election Assistance Commission (EAC)[.]” The two other claims include allegations that electronic poll book machines were connected to the internet in violation of the Texas Election Code (TEC) and that other provisions of the TEC violate the Texas Constitution.
Under the current law for contesting constitutional amendment elections (Section 233.014, Election Code), a trial court must conduct a trial within 180 days from the election. Here, that could be as late as May 5, 2024. The Texas Senate attempted to avoid the threat by passing Senate Bill 6 late in the fourth special session. The bill would amend the election code and change the 180 days to 50 days. The bill was received by the Texas House of Representatives on December 5, 2023, but shortly after they adjourned ending the fourth special session. It is unclear as of this writing if, and when, Governor Abbott will call a fifth special session. In the meantime, property tax relief appears to be on hold.