Senator Bettencourt Response to Houston Chronicle Editorial Board

Dear Editor Riley,

Another shrill editorial about voting integrity by the Chronicle Editorial Board which ignores the facts and avoids a public policy debate based on merits. Instead the Editorial Board “labels” rather than “explains”, and portrays any “Republican” rational in voter integrity as a ‘Big Lie.”

They label my “Integrity Seven” election bills as “falsely bearing the label ‘election integrity.’” which I utterly reject based upon the actual bill language.

Let’s list these 7 bills briefly so voters could see at a glance what they’re really about:

  • SB 1110 – sets up an expedited election code resolution by the 11 Texas Regional administrative Judges for all candidates and political parties. (This is a good idea for everyone!)
  • SB 1111 – will stop voters from using private P.O. boxes as their primary registration address, as no one lives in a 2X3 inch P.O. box. (Est. 4880 voters alone in Harris County…)
  • SB1112 – prevents 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. (This is a fundamental voter integrity issue in the United States.)
  • SB1113 – 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.
  • SB1114 – requires Secretary of State to cross-reference voter rolls & motor vehicle records where a person has indicated that he or she is not a U.S. citizen; and remove these ineligible voters.
  • SB 1115 – requires uniformity in early voting hours and days for all counties in Texas. Any voter standing in line at 7PM will still be able to vote. (More hours for most counties, less for others.)
  • 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. (Even the Editorial Board wont support this simple transparency bill?)

This begs the following questions….why do you stand in opposition to increased transparency and easier access to election results?  Why do you believe that those who self-identify as non-citizens should remain on the voter roll? Why do you believe people should be allowed to vote in districts in which they do not reside by registering to vote at a PO Box? Why do you oppose expedited access to the Courts for election violations? Why do you think that it is okay to accept mail-in ballots that are not signed by the voter requesting the mail-in ballot? Why do you think it is okay to have early voting locations open at different hours within a county and between counties? If you answer YES to ANY of these questions you are letting ideology drive the discussion on voter integrity.

These bills comes from my over 20 years of experience as a local elected official and private citizen and now State Senator and watching what happens in local, state, and national elections. I think the voters who are reading this would overwhelming agree with the lion share of these recommendations because the integrity of the voter roll is paramount to any election. I would be happy to debate these 7 bills anytime and anywhere and let the voters decide.

I request my response be printed to provide a balance response for your readers.



Senator Paul Bettencourt

RE: Lisa Falkenberg – Editorial Board