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Transfer of Power


The transfer of power after municipal elections follows a structured process outlined in Texas laws and regulations.  This process is designed to assist the peaceful and orderly transition.

  1. Election Night: The elections administrator is responsible for the counting of votes.  Unofficial tallies are usually posted before midnight on election day.


  1. Canvass: The city council or board of aldermen convene in an open meeting to certify the votes for each candidate and for or against each proposition on the ballot.  Generally, Chapter 67 of the Election Code governs the timing of the canvass:  on or before the 11th  day after election day.   Note that a quorum for a meeting to canvass the election is only two members of the governing body of the City.  Election Code 67.004.


  1. Certificate of Election: After the canvass, and usually at the same meeting, the presiding officer of the governing body presents a certificate of election for each candidate who has prevailed in his/her race.  Election Code 67.016.  The certificate must contain the name, the office, that the person’s election is to an unexpired term (if applicable), the date of the election, the signature of the presiding officer and the City seal.  This certificate officially declares the winners of the municipal election.


  1. Statement of Elected or Appointed Officer. Before the winner may be sworn in, he/she must execute the Texas Secretary of State Form 2201 Statement of Elected or Appointed Officer (sometimes referred to as anti-bribery statement).  Article XVI Sec. 1, Texas Constitution.  This Statement should be provided by the City Secretary and must be signed before taking the Oath of Office.


  1. Oath of Office. Now, the winner may take his/her Texas Secretary of State Form 2204 Oath of Office.  The person may be sworn in by any official authorized to administer an oath in Texas.  See list in Chapter 602 of the Government Code.  Commonly used officials include notaries public and judges. The mayor may also administer oaths of office. Local Government Code 22.042(d).


  1. Assumption of Duties. The new city officials may not assume their duties until they have received their certificates of election from the presiding officer, executed their anti-bribery statements, and been sworn in by an authorized official.


  1. Transfer of Responsibilities. After the swearing in, the outgoing officials often facilitate the transfer of power by meeting with the new officials, handing over important documents, providing briefings on ongoing projects, and introducing key staff members.


  1. First Official Meeting. The newly-formed city council or board of aldermen will convene their first meeting as the new governing body of the City.  They will elect from among themselves a new mayor pro-tempore, who will preside over the meetings in the case of the mayor’s absence.  The new body will begin implementing their policies and plans for the municipality based on issues identified during the campaign period, which may include setting budgets, enacting ordinance, and acting to address other pressing issues.

Throughout this process, adherence to legal procedures and respect for democratic principles are paramount to ensure a smooth and legitimate transfer of power.

Please do not rely on this article as legal advice. We can tell you what the law is, but until we know the facts of your given situation, we cannot provide legal guidance. This website is for informational purposes and not for the purposes of providing legal advice. 

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