A Texas state representative filed a bill today that would require voters to be affiliated with a political party of their choice. The purpose is to deter people not affiliated with that party from voting in primary elections.
House Bill 1072 closes primary elections to registered party members only and it was filed by Texas State Representative Mike Lang (R-Granbury). Lang was recently elected to the position and this is his first bill.
As reported by Breitbart Texas in February 2016, the Hood County Democrat Chair was caught promoting Democrats to vote in the Republican party primary in order to influence election outcomes. Democrat Chairman Robert Vick sent an email to his opponent Norman Fott and asked him to withdraw from the race so Democrats could vote in the Republican primary in that county. Vick himself had an opponent in the Democrat primary and he said he was willing to fall on the sword if he had to. The strong implication from his email, attached in the original Breitbart Texas article, was that Democrats should cross-over into the Republican Party primary in order to vote against conservative candidates. Vick was targeting Mike Lang and called him a “tea party king” in the email.
The email from the Hood County Democrat Chairman asked his opponent to withdraw in order to prevent conservatives from winning the Republican Primary.
Lang, a conservative, was endorsed by Concerned Women for America, Texas Values, Texas Home School Coalition, CLEAT, Texas State Senator Charles Perry, State Representative Drew Springer, National Association for Gun Rights PAC, Texas Right to Life, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, and Young Conservatives of Texas.
“In my 2016 primary election, the Hood County Democrat Party privately circulated an email calling for registered Democrats to vote in the Republican primary in order to assist a liberal candidate that aligned closer to their values,” admits Lang in a press release about the filing of House Bill 1072.
According to the Texas Secretary of State website, all of the local races in Hood County had Republicans running against each other and they had no Democratic opposition. Republicans were running for county attorney, tax assessor-collector, and in county commissioner and justice of the peace races.
Cross-over voting into the Republican Primary by Democrats, could have affected the outcome for the Republican Party presidential nominee, and state races for railroad commissioner, the Supreme Court of Texas and the Court of Criminal Appeals. Texas state Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) had a Democrat opponent.
The other two Republican candidates the Hood County Democrat Party chairman was focused on were running in the county attorney and a county commissioner race. Vick noted that “In the last matchup, [one of the candidates] won by less than 100 votes over [the other candidate].”
Rep. Lang said this about the filing of HB 1072, “While the email eventually came to light, it is my intent to prevent unfortunate and dishonest meddling from ever occurring again. I do not want a Democrat voting in a Republican primary just as much as I don’t want a Republican voting in a Democrat primary in order to sway the election and degrade the integrity of the race.”
In a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas, Rep. Lang says he “feels strongly that legislation needs to be filed in order to close primaries due to crossover in both Democrat and Republican primaries.” He says, “Due to the current system with crossover voting, I do not believe the parties are able to efficiently choose a nominee.”
One legislative analyst with the Public Interest Legal Foundation, an organization that tracks election reforms, cautioned that casting HB 1072 as an effort to improve integrity in the voting process shows poor prioritization. The group argued that efficiencies needing to be built into Texas’ voter identification law and new procedures to remove ineligible voters from the rolls are of greater importance.
Lang lives in Granbury, Texas, in Hood County which is 35 miles southwest of Fort Worth. He has been a law enforcement officer for 30 years and had been serving as the constable for Hood County since 2013. Lang’s wife, Katie Lang, is the Hood County Clerk. Katie Lang made news when she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage.