Fighting for election integrity and transparency

Texas Stiff Arming D.C. Democrats

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Protecting the vote of every eligible voter is a civil rights fight. This is why pursuing fraud and working to limit inaccuracies in election administration by maintaining accurate voter rolls is of vital importance. Any election where these elements are questioned is one that undermines the trust of the citizenry.

Earlier in the month, the attorney general’s office responded a second time to Washington Democrats seeking information from Texas on voter list maintenance and voter fraud investigations; stiff arm applied.

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HB 2909 Special Interest Spin Debunked

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Thus far, the session has been a disappointment for conservatives, a fact that appears unlikely to change in the waning days of the biennial blitzkrieg.

What’s true generally, and especially in the case of election integrity efforts, is conservatives are operating in good faith. Special interest groups (i.e. vendor advocates), laughably masquerading as independent activists are not.

The latest push from this lot is opposition to HB 2909 as amended by the Senate. Here we’ll examine some of the talking points being trotted out against concurring with HB 2909 and why a committee compromise (while we may support it) is unlikely to materialize.

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DAT Calls on Klick to Concur with HB 2909

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While the fight for more comprehensively secure elections is currently on hold, following the demise of Senate Bill 9 in the Texas House, there are other measures that Texans should be pushing for lawmakers to advance in the waning days of the 2019 session.

HB 2909, by Representatives Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) and Mike Lang (R-Granbury) was passed by the Senate yesterday where it is being carried by a bipartisan cohort including Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) and Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville).

After being amended, HB 2909 is heading back to the House.

Direct Action Texas is calling on Chairman Klick and members of the House to pass the bill as-is, concurring with amendments, so that the bill can be sent to the Governor and signed into law.

The bill, as written and amended, is an omnibus bill dealing with the nuts and bolts of election administration. Committee hearings in both chambers, like the bill’s authorship, resulted in a mix of support from election groups on both the right and left.

As written, HB 2909 will add a crucial component to Texas elections, a backup regime that can be used to verify election results.

This session has been an embarrassment for elected officials in the House who claim to be strong advocates and proponents of well administered and upright elections. Passage of HB 2909 would take steps towards improving elections in Texas.

Call on Chairman Klick to move the bill out of the House as amended by the Senate. Her phone number is (512) 463-0599.

SB9 Hearing Observations

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Yesterday, the Texas House Elections Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 9 (SB9), an election integrity and administration bill that clarifies and strengthens Texas Election Code.

The hearing was pure progressive theater lead off by Williamson County Election Administrator Chris Davis at 8:00 AM on Wednesday and ending at nearly 1:00 AM on Thursday morning. Minus time spent on the House floor, the hearing was still lengthy.

That time was spent mostly on false narratives meant to deter ensuring accurate elections.

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Last Chance for Election Integrity!

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The 86th Texas Legislature has gone from over 400 election bills to just one last chance for true reform and that bill, Senate Bill 9 by Hughes, is in danger. Some portions of the bill have been strengthened by a committee substitute, but other crucial portions of the bill have been removed. SB 9 needs your help and your testimony on Wednesday, May 15th at 8:00 am. Below is your brief guide to the bill.

What’s Still Included:

SB 9 is an omnibus bill, covering numerous aspects of the Election Code. It includes increased penalties for election fraud as well as civil penalties for organized election fraud. This allows the Office of the Attorney General to increase its ability to go after the bigger fish in harvesting operations. It allows the closer tracking of potential harvesters by requiring a form to be filled out by individuals assisting voters. SB 9 also cracks down on potential illegal activity involving curbside voting.

The bill has several sections on cleaning up the processes involved in voting. It clearly defines the procedures for opening and closing the polls, ensuring accountability. It limits electronic devices around the central counting procedures as well as cleaning up the language concerning the signature verification committees and watchers. Countywide polling is also addressed by SB 9, limiting the reduction of polling locations and governing their placement.

In the event that the results of an election are in doubt, SB 9 provides solutions that are clearer than the present code. It defines the parameters of election contests, sets requirements for automatic recounts, and establishes risk-limiting audit procedures.

In addressing the voter rolls, it places restrictions on prefilled voter registration cards and eliminates barriers for the interstate cross check systems.

What’s Missing:

The committee substitute removed language that would address a growing issue involving mail-in ballots, false disability claims. Harvesters are marking voters who wouldn’t otherwise qualify to vote by mail as disabled. SB 9 would have added language to the application, clearly defining what disability means in the context of voting. It would have required something similar for in-person voting, but that provision was removed as well. Assistants would have been required to note the type of assistance he or she provided and why the assistance was needed. 

The most important piece of SB 9 that was eliminated was paper ballot backups. Direct Action Texas has been broadcasting the need for paper ballot backups since before this session began. No piece of this legislation is more important than paper backups. With the current electronic systems, there is no way to truly ensure the integrity of an election. In a recount, there is nothing to recount. There is no actual record of votes.

We must have paper. However, we need more than just paper. We need hybrid systems. Hybrids offer an electronic count that must match the number of paper ballots. Those two counts must then match the number of voters checked in. Each paper ballot must have a serial number, preventing ballot box stuffing. Without all of these elements working together the door is wide open for fraud.

Paper ballot backups passed in the Senate. They are not lost yet in the House. A Representative can take a stand for election integrity and add them back in as a floor amendment. They can also be restored in Conference Committee. However it happens, this crucial portion of the legislation must return!

If you plan to testify in Austin on Wednesday, please email us at info@directactiontx.com for more details.

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