Wikimedia Commons / Jay Phagan
With the coronavirus grinding Texans' lives to a halt, Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday released an order enabling municipalities to postpone May 2 elections until November.
The proclamation was made possible after Abbott issued a disaster declaration enabling him to suspend portions of the state’s election code, the Texas Tribune reports
. Even so, individual municipalities will make the final call whether to shift spring elections to fall.
"I strongly encourage local election officials to take advantage of these waivers and postpone their elections until November," Abbott said in an emailed statement. "Right now, the state's focus is responding to COVID-19 — including social distancing and avoiding large gatherings. By delaying this election, our local election officials can assist in that effort."
Bexar County elections officials were unavailable for immediate comment on whether they plan to postpone elections.
Abbott's action comes after Democrats asked the state to adopt a universal vote-by-mail program for upcoming contests, including a May 26 runoff the governor's office hasn't yet issued a ruling on.
Such a proposal would greatly expand vote-by-mail in Texas, which is available in other states but only allowed in limited circumstances here. For the most part, only senior citizens and people with disabilities or those outside of the country or in jail are eligible to mail in their ballots in the Lone Star State.
Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.