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RULE §3.3Conduct of Elections; Notice

(a) The election of board members from each proposed eradication zone shall be held concurrently with the eradication zone referendum or referenda.

(b) The department may conduct an assessment referendum or referenda either in conjunction with a board election and eradication zone referendum or referenda or at a time subsequent to the initial board election and referendum or referenda.

(c) A board election and referendum or referenda conducted under the Texas Agriculture Code, Chapter 74, Subchapter D, as amended, or Senate Bill 1814, 75th Legislative Session, 1997, and these rules must be preceded by at least 45 days notice published in one or more newspapers published and distributed throughout the proposed or established eradication zone or zones, or area proposed to be added or transferred. The notice shall be published not less than once a week for three consecutive weeks. In addition, direct written notice of the election shall be given to each county extension agent of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service in the eradication zone or zones or area proposed to be added or transferred at least 45 days before the date of the election, referendum, or referenda.

(d) Notice provided in accordance with subsection (c) of this section shall include:

  (1) the date of the election;

  (2) the manner in which the election is to be conducted (i.e., by mail balloting);

  (3) the purpose of the election and/or referendum;

  (4) if appropriate, information regarding the election of board members, including how to get on the ballot;

  (5) if an assessment referendum is being conducted, the maximum assessment to be paid by cotton growers having production in the eradication zone and the time for which the assessment will be collected;

  (6) who to contact for more information; and

  (7) if a referendum includes a proposition for approval of a third party contractor to carry out an eradication program, in accordance with the Texas Agriculture Code, §74.124, as amended, the name of the proposed contracting party.

(e) A referendum and/or board election conducted under the Texas Agriculture Code, Chapter 74, Subchapter D, as amended, or Senate Bill 1814, and these rules shall be conducted by mail ballot, with ballots returned by mail to the principal headquarters of the department.

(f) No ballot will be valid if postmarked after midnight on the last day for voting in the board election, referendum, or referenda.

(g) An eligible voter who has not received a ballot from the department, foundation or another source may request a ballot by mail by calling the department headquarters or by contacting the Texas Agricultural Extension Service office in a county within the eradication zone or proposed eradication zone, or other governmental office designated by the department.

(h) Instructions for county agents and voters will be available in each election from the department.

Source Note: The provisions of this §3.3 adopted to be effective August 9, 1993, 18 TexReg 4949; amended to be effective August 1, 1996, 21 TexReg 6891; amended to be effective November 24, 1997, 22 TexReg 11081.

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