Texas House Passes Election Integrity Bill

A poll worker helps a voter at a mail in ballot drop off location on October 13, 2020 in Austin, Texas. The first day of voting saw voters waiting hours in line to cast their votes. Gov. Greg Abbott announced earlier this year that he would expand early voting for …
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The Texas House of Representatives passed a major election integrity bill on Friday in a 78 to 64 vote.

A more robust version of the bill, SB 7, was passed last month by the Texas State Senate in an 18 to 13 vote. It now goes to a conference committee to hammer out differences between the Senate and House versions. That revised bill will then be sent back to both chambers for a final vote.

Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) is expected to sign the election integrity bill sent to him by the Texas State Legislature into law.

KHOU reported:

The first vote on a pared down version [of SB 7] came early Friday after a long day of debate. . . Republicans amended the bill to nix a provision that would’ve required people assisting voters to disclose the reason a voter might need help — even if for medical reasons. That measure raised concerns among advocates for people with disabilities that it could violate the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Lawmakers also amended the bill to slim down provisions that broadly enhanced protections for partisan poll watchers and provisions that boosted penalties for voting related offenses.

The legislation still contains some controversial provisions, including a prohibition on counties sending unsolicited applications to vote by mail.

On Wednesday, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX-21) sent a letter, “to Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and two influential state legislators encouraging them to pass election integrity legislation currently under consideration in the Texas State Legislature that includes several specific safeguards.”

“Today, the Texas House passed SB 7 on second reading, a bill to safeguard our elections in Texas, despite immense pressure from woke corporations and the liberal media,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) wrote in a Facebook post on Friday.

Cruz concluded:

The bill protects the voting rights of 29 million Texans and would make our elections in Texas more accessible and more secure. When Texans go to cast a vote, that vote should count. I am grateful for the Republicans and the Leadership in the Texas House and Senate who have been leading the fight to protect the integrity of our elections in Texas, and I hope that this bill becomes law.

A provision of SB 7 that would significantly limit the private funding of election administration apparently was included in the version of the bill passed by the House Friday.

As Breitbart News reported:

The bill addresses private funding of election administration as follows:

Sec.A81.032. ACCEPTANCE OF DONATIONS AND BEQUESTS.

(a) The commissioners court may accept a donation of labor or services, gift, grant, donation, bequest, or devise of money or other property on behalf of the county, including a donation under Chapter 38, Government Code, for the purpose of performing a function conferred by law on the county or a county officer.

(b)The commissioners court may not accept a donation described in Subsection (a) of over $1,000 for use in administering elections without the written consent of the secretary of state.

(c) The secretary of state may grant consent under Subsection (b) only if:

(1) the secretary consults with the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the house of representatives on the proposed donation; and
(2) the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the house of representatives unanimously agree to the secretary ’s grant of consent.

“This is an interesting approach which involves the legislative branch and creates transparency. It is a good step,” Phill Kline, executive director of the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society, a public interest law firm, said of SB 7’s election administration provision.

Should the provision addressing the private funding of election administration survive the conference committee, Texas will become the sixth state to either ban or significantly limit the use of private funds in election administration so far this year, joining Florida, Arizona, Louisiana, Idaho, and Georgia.

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