Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation March 18 allowing political subdivisions the choice to postpone their May 2020 local elections. The May 2 city of Katy ballot would have had three council member positions—for wards A and B and the at-large seat—and eight candidates, according to the city secretary.
"The safety of our residents is our first priority, and no one felt comfortable that we would be able to protect our citizens, city employees and poll workers for a May 3 election," Council Member Janet Corte said in a Facebook post. "Everyone has a right to vote in this country and should be provided that opportunity. However, without being able to fully protect all our citizens, we felt it was prudent to comply with the governor's proclamation to postpone the election."
Eric San Miguel, who has been a Katy resident for 17 years, said before the March 23 Council meeting, he disagreed with the decision to postpone the May elections. But he now agrees with Corte—who is running for re-election for Ward A—and the rest of the council members who unanimously voted in favor of holding local elections in November.
"Thank you for hearing those who did not want the election to be postponed," San Miguel said in a Facebook exchange. "I could tell by their comments that they put a ton of thought into it."
Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris, who is running uncontested for re-election as the at-large council member, said he does not like the situation but feels a duty to help the greater good.
"I wish we could have the local election on normal schedule," Harris wrote in a Facebook post. "I have spent many hours visiting with business leaders, teachers, staff and citizens. ... The majority I have spoken to requested the election date moved. The tragedy in our community is still unfolding."
Rory Robertson, who is running for the Ward B position in Katy—a seat currently held by Council Member Durran Dowdle—said he disagreed with the decision to postpone elections in a Facebook post published before the March 23 meeting.
"An election is one of the most sacred rights a free people possess," Robertson said. "To arbitrarily choose to delay the people their right to choose who represents them is un-American. Allowing unelected individuals to remain in office after their term expires may also veer into an unconstitutional act."
Katy ISD, which is also scheduled to host a local election for the board of trustees, has not announced a decision on whether to postpone the May 2 election.