Texas Election Integrity Bills
In a previous RNHA article, we discussed how Texas pushing forward in efforts to pass laws that mitigate election integrity concerns with several Texas Senate Bills aimed at curtailing voter fraud and enhancing election integrity. Currently, several calendared Texas House bills aim to continue this effort of fortifying Texas’ elections.
The following bills have been proposed:
HB 06: Election Integrity Protection Act of 2021, a bill introduced by Texas State House Representative Briscoe Cain (R) of District 128 which relates to increasing criminal penalties for election fraud-related crimes and the applicable severity of punishment for committing such crimes.
Additionally, the bill reforms the state’s time frame including when to turn in death certificates, specify the proper role of the election officer when noting spoiled ballots, and ballots in general. It also cements the role of a poll watcher and implements protections for poll watchers in the case of their removal from polling locations unless the actions of a poll watcher are inappropriate.
Moreover, HB 06 enhances the protection of election data information in how it is properly stored following the election day, vote harvesting is better clarified, inserts Section 276.015 stating what an unlawful solicitation or distribution of application to vote is, and the bill discusses the steps required for the appeal of an election. The House Election Committee passed HB 06 successfully on April 29th and will be awaiting a vote by the full House.
HB 2478: Republican State House Representatives Harris, Cain, and Parker authored this bill to address how early voting ballot applications should also require photo identification as well as a declaration of the reasonable impediment in addition to the applicant’s address and personal information required of the form to enhance the security of the form following its completion. This bill also provides for the penalty of perjury if the materials provided to verify an individual’s early voting ballot are false. Currently, the House Elections Committee passed HB 2478 on April 19th and will be awaiting a vote by the full House.
SB 07: Republican State Senators Hughes, Bettencourt, Buckingham, Campbell, Creighton, Hall, Kolkhorst, Nelson, Paxton, Perry, Schwertner, and Springer authored a bill which discusses how a judge will make felony convictions, the mitigating process by which unlawful voting or registration must be relayed to the attorney general, secretary of state, and district attorney, as well as noting the appropriate process of registration and to whom registration applies.
SB 07 lays out the preparation process for voting or soliciting ballot materials related to voting by mail. It clearly outlines what is and is not appropriate and inappropriate when it comes to handling mail-in ballots, prohibits application distribution, advancement in the technological advancement when it comes to tracking mail-in voting, renewed protections for poll watchers observing the voting process, determining the utilization of equipment in precincts, and that this entire process of completed ballots shall be securely protected to preserve the integrity of the election. The Texas Senate has passed Senate Bill 07 and has been referred to the House Elections Committee.
Republicans in the Texas State Senate and House are working on passing laws that will make our elections more secure. This is a reaction to both the fraud accusations in the 2020 elections and the attempt by Democrats in Congress to passing sweeping legislation that nationalizes our elections. Once again, Texas is leading the way in election security.