Change in Law Affecting Retention of Election Records

HB 2817, passed by the 81st Legislature this year, made several changes to the Election Code.  One change important to records managers in Texas is a change to §66.058(a), which lowers the required retention period of precinct election records for elections not involving a federal office to six months after election day.  This new retention affects any retention period on Local Schedule EL that includes the phrase “Election Day + 22 months”:

EL3100-01a EL3100-01b EL3100-01c EL3100-03b
EL3100-03c(1) EL3100-04a(1) EL3100-04a(2) EL3100-04c(2)
EL3100-06a EL3100-10a EL3100-10c EL3100-10d
EL3100-10e EL3100-11a EL3100-11b(1) EL3100-11b(2)
EL3100-12 EL3150-06d EL3150-06e

 

This means that any record with a retention period of “Election day + 22 months” in Local Schedule EL now has two retention periods: “Election day + 22 months” for elections involving a federal office, and “Election day + 6 months” for elections not involving a federal office.  We will be updating Local Schedule EL to reflect this change as soon as we are able, but because schedule updates can be a lengthy process we wanted to let you know about the change now.

How does this change affect you?

If your government has adopted Local Schedule EL by submitting form SLR 508 (Declaration of Compliance with the Records Scheduling Requirement of the Local Government Records Act) you can begin following the new retention period immediately.  Government Code §441.158(e) states:

After the adoption of a records retention schedule, a retention period for a record prescribed in a new or amended federal or state law, rule of court, or regulation that differs from that in a records retention schedule prevails over that in the schedule.

Government Code §441.158(e), however, applies only to retention schedules prepared by the State Library and adopted by a local government.  If your government follows its own Records Control Schedule you must either amend your schedule with the new retention period or adopt Local Schedule EL by submitting form SLR 508.