To tell the truth, there isn’t really a secret Texas Election Code, at least not in the strictest sense. But there is a body of administrative rules that materially affect how elections are conducted in Texas. The rules themselves (found at Title 1, Part 4, Chapter 81 of the Texas Administrative Rules – see the Links page) are a mixture of frustratingly terse and oblique exercises of administrative interpretation of the Texas Election Code, together with extremely detailed and technical rules, betraying a kind of schizoid development process.
But assuming that the Election Code can be completely understood without the administrative rules is dangerous. I’ll illustrate examples of that later in connection with rules for accessible voting system security, confidential voting by victims of domestic violence, and management of primary finance.
A second kind of secret election code has developed over the years in the form of unwritten, informal interpretations of the sometimes incomprehensible Election Code. I’ll point out a couple examples of this as well in future posts.