Trustees Election and Appointments

ERS Trustee Elections and Appointments

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

State employees have valuable benefits offered through the Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS), and the ERS Board of Trustees works to ensure those benefits remain valuable and competitive.

One way to make sure you are represented in benefits discussions is to vote in the next ERS Board of Trustees election. This year, you have the opportunity to vote for a state agency employee to fill the Board seat currently held by Ilesa Daniels, who works for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Her term expires August 31, 2021. The elected candidate will serve a six-year term as your member advocate. 

Candidate eligibility

Only active State of Texas agency employees who are contributing to the ERS Retirement Trust Fund can run. In this year’s election, employees of the Texas Department of Transportation and Texas Department of Public Safety are ineligible to run because those agencies already have representation on the Board. State law prohibits two trustees employed by the same agency from serving at the same time. But, employees in those agencies can nominate candidates from other agencies, sign a nomination petition and vote in the election.

Nomination process

  • The Employees Retirement System of Texas (ERS) is accepting nominations from Monday, March 1 through March 31 at 5 p.m. CT to fill one of three elected positions on the ERS Board.
  • In addition to the paper petition forms traditionally used in past Board elections, this year members will have the option to electronically nominate a candidate.  A potential candidate can contact the ERS election coordinator on or after March 1 to request a personalized electronic nomination site platform. This “hybrid” nominations process will provide an additional avenue for candidates to collect signatures and avoid the risk of going “door-to-door” in person to gain support. 
  • To get on the ballot, a member must file a petition bearing the signatures of 300 eligible voters. A signature is counted only if the:
    • printed first and last name, ZIP code and date of birth are legibly included;
    • person matches a member of the ERS plan; and 
    • signature only appears one time for only one candidate.

ERS encourages candidates to gather between 400 and 500 signatures to allow for invalid entries. If a member, signs a nomination petition for more than one candidate, ERS will not count either signature.

  • The process to cast an electronic signature for a nominee is very similar to online voting. On the website, the member will log in by typing in their known credentials: their ZIP code, date of birth and portions of their first and last names. Using the known credentials, the website will automatically authenticate the member’s voting eligibility.
  • In addition to the nomination petition form, each candidate must complete and submit the “Questionnaire for Board of Trustees Position.” The questionnaire and other nomination materials will be available on March 1. 

Who can vote?

Individuals can vote in the ERS Board of Trustees election if they have an ERS account balance as of January 31, 2021 or are retired state employees receiving annuities from ERS.

Why vote?

Your participation in the Board of Trustees election is important. The Board of Trustees makes key decisions regarding member benefits such as:

  • designing plans for your health care and pharmacy benefits,
  • selecting third-party administrators of health insurance and other benefit programs and 
  • authorizing new programs such as vision insurance. 

The Board also manages the Texa$averSM 401(k) / 457 Program and oversees the ERS Retirement Trust Fund, which invests state, agency and member pension contributions.

As with any election, voter turnout is key. In recent Board elections, fewer than 12% of eligible members voted.

Trustee appointments and terms

Board member Ilesa Daniels, whose term is expiring this year, holds one of three seats elected by ERS members and retirees. Three other Board members are appointed, one each by the:

  • Governor,
  • Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives and
  • 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, state employees and retirees will elect one employee member to serve as their member advocate.

Voting options

ERS will mail information on the candidates and paper ballots in May 2021.

Voting will begin on May 7 via the :

  • traditional paper ballot method and
  • preferred electronic method, through a link on the ERS website or through an email link to the voting portal. ERS will send the email on or around May 7. (This option is available to eligible members and retirees with an up-to-date and active email address on file with ERS. If necessary, update your email address through your ERS OnLine account.) Voting electronically is convenient and secure, and saves money for ERS. It also decreases the chance of errors that could cause a ballot to be invalid.

The candidate receiving the most votes will be certified as the new Board of Trustees member.

2021 Trustee Election Calendar

Nomination process
Monday, March 1 Nominating petitions distributed to agencies
Wednesday, March 31 Candidate nominations due to ERS by 5 p.m. CT
Thursday, April 8 Certify candidates and draw for ballot order
Thursday, May 6 Candidate forum
General election
Friday, May 7 Voting begins
Friday, June 11 Voting ends
Thursday, July 15 ERS Executive Director certifies results
Wednesday, September 1 Board of Trustees member term begins