Section 815.003(d) of the Texas Government Code states that before August 31 of each odd-numbered year, the Board of Trustees (Board) of the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) is required to hold an election for the members and retirees of the system to nominate and elect a trustee.
We need you
As with any election, voter turnout is important. In recent elections, fewer than 12% voted; this year is your opportunity to vote for an ERS Board of Trustees member who will serve a six-year term as your member representative.
Any active state employee who contributes to the ERS Retirement Trust can serve on the Board. In this year’s election, employees of Health and Human Services (including the Department of State Health Services) and the Department of Public Safety are not able to run. These entities already have representation on the Board and the law prohibits two trustees serving from the same agency. However, those employees can nominate a candidate and, of course, vote in the election.
- Candidate nominations will open Friday, March 1, 2019 and will be accepted until Monday, April 1, 2019 at 5 p.m. Central. A nomination petition and other documents will be available on the ERS website.
- To qualify, a member must file a petition bearing the original signatures of 300 eligible voters. A signature is counted only if the printed name, ZIP code and the last four digits of the Social Security number are legibly included; the person matches a member of the ERS plan; and the signature only appears one time for only one candidate. To allow for invalid entries, ERS will accept up to 600 signatures. If a person signs a nomination petition more than once, or signs a petition for more than one candidate, the signature will not be counted on any petition.
- All ERS members are eligible voters–this includes active employees, retirees receiving a monthly annuity payment, and previous employees who still have money in the fund.
- In addition to the petition form, each candidate must complete and submit the “Questionnaire for Board of Trustees Position.”
Why vote? The Board of Trustees’ role
The Board of Trustees makes key decisions regarding:
- member benefits, such as selecting third-party administrators;
- design of your health care and pharmacy benefits plans;
- authorizing new programs such as vision insurance; and
- setting the budget for ERS operations.
They also oversee the state retirement plan and the Texa$aver 401(k) / 457 Program. Board members serve as trustees for the ERS Retirement Trust Fund, which pays retirees’ annuities from employee and state contributions and investment earnings.
Trustee appointment and terms
The term of Board member Doug Danzeiser will expire on August 31, 2019. Danzeiser holds one of three seats elected by ERS members and retirees. Three other Board members are appointed: one each by the Governor, the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, and the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court.
Both appointed and elected Board members serve staggered six-year terms. The terms of appointees expire on August 31 of each even-numbered year. The terms of elected Board members expire on August 31 of each odd-numbered year. This year, one employee member will be elected by state employees and retirees to serve as their member representative.
ERS will mail information on the candidates and paper ballots in May 2019. You can also vote by direct email. Through a personalized link sent on or around May 10, you will be able to cast your secure vote electronically. This option is available to every eligible member and retiree with an updated and active email on file with ERS. Voting will begin May 10, 2019 via the ERS website, by direct email or by a mailed paper ballot. Do not submit a vote online AND by paper or direct email ballot—if duplicate votes are received, only one ballot will be counted. The candidate receiving the most votes will be certified as the new Board of Trustees member.
2019 Election Calendar
|Friday, March 1
||Nominating petitions distributed to agencies
|Monday, April 1
||Candidate nominations due to ERS by 5 p.m. Central
|Thursday, April 18
||Certify candidates and draw for ballot order
|Thursday, May 9
|Friday, May 10
|Friday, June 14
|Thursday, July 11
|Sunday, September 1
||Board of Trustees member term begins