Austin, Texas – Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), along with 5 joint-authors, Senators Birdwell, Creighton, Kolkhorst, Hall, and Schwertner, have signed onto most all these voter registration and election code violation bills, to protect voter integrity in Texas. These 7 bills are important to ensuring a trusted, accurate and fair voting process.
“The November 2020 election demonstrated the lack of transparency and lack of integrity within the election process,” said Senator Bettencourt. “The integrity of the voter roll is paramount to the entire electoral process and we must restore confidence in the voter roll for future elections for all Texans,” he continued.
The Texas Secretary of State (“SOS”) as authorized by the Legislature, has started a proactive process to remove ineligible voters from the voter rolls by reviewing motor vehicle data from DPS. These 3 bills would make the following changes in voter registration to further support an accurate voter roll like not using private P.O. boxes for registration:
- SB 1111 requires the voter to provide documentation that the voter lives at the address where the voter is registered when the voter receives a confirmation request from the voter registrar, ie no private P.O. boxes.
- SB 1113 provides the SOS the authority to withhold Chapter 19 funds if the voter registrar or elections administrator fails to timely remove voters who should be cancelled from the voter roll.
- SB 1114 boosts SOS efforts by requiring voter registrars to cross-reference voter rolls & motor vehicles records where a person has indicated that he or she is not a U.S. citizen; and remove these ineligible voters.
“The COVID-19 pandemic on top of the November 2020 election have revealed election code violations across Texas including too many places with election officials that have been non-compliant with the one or more of the requirements of the Texas Election Code,” said Senator Bettencourt. “These ‘Integrity Seven’ bills will start a needed discussion to create uniformity to make sure the problems we faced in 2020 will not happen again.” he added.
Failure to enforce the Election Code was an issue during the November 2020 election with the Texas Supreme Court and other lower courts plus even Federal courts issuing many notable rulings. Addressing the critical nature of election violations, the following 4 bills would address these and future election disputes:
- SB 1110 requires each Administrative Judge of the 11 districts in Texas to appoint judges to be able to hear issues raised by either a candidate or a political party within three hours of the request prior to Election Day and within one hour on Election Day. This bill will allow for faster resolution of election issues.
- SB 1112 prohibits local election officials from suspending the requirement of the Early Voting Ballot Board to verify that the signature on the mail ballot application and the signature on the mail ballot are from the voter.
- SB 1115 requires uniformity in early voting hours and days for all counties in Texas.
- SB 1116 requires transparency for cities, counties, and ISDs, who maintain a website, to place on their respective websites, no more than two clicks away from their homepage, any results of their elections.
State Affairs Chairman Bryan Hughes is working on omnibus legislation covering a wide range of issues in Texas Election Code. Senator Bettencourt is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Local Government and plans to file additional legislation in the coming days on a wide range of issues.