Posts by Christine Welborn

Conservatives Call on Abbott for Special Session

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Yesterday, conservative leaders from across Texas held a press conference in Farmers Branch calling on Governor Greg Abbott to call a special session.

Direct Action Texas’ executive director Daniel Greer spoke at the event on the topic of election integrity, specifically missed opportunities to secure Texas elections ahead of 2020. Full remarks are attached to this article.

Election integrity is one of the 11 issues part of the Lone Star Agenda, formulated following the purple legislative session.

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Paper Backups Backed by Congress?

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Yesterday, Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. held a town hall in Fort Worth in which he addressed several election integrity issues, and specifically the implementation of paper ballot backups.

Election integrity was, in fact, the first question put to the Congressman by an audience member. Burgess, representing Denton and Tarrant County, congratulated Denton County on purchasing a voting system based on paper ballots. He acknowledged that purely electronic voting systems are problematic. Gesturing to Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley who had just introduced Burgess, the congressman suggested the audience member encourage Whitley to implement paper ballot backups in Tarrant as well.

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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.

SB 9 Fake News Debunked

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Senate Bill 9 by Senator Bryan Hughes does not restrict anyone’s ability to take voters to a polling location to vote inside that location. Misinformation has been spreading about this bill, claiming it is hostile to transporting voters to the polls. That is simply not the case.

The way the bill is written, it could be misinterpreted if it is not read carefully. However, the intent is made clear when the bill references “Section 64.009” of the Election Code. This section addresses voters unable to enter the polling place. These are the voters who are “physically unable to enter the polling place without personal assistance or likelihood of injuring the voter’s health” and therefore eligible to vote “curbside”. This section does not apply to anyone who transports voters who vote inside the polling place.

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Call to Action!

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Support These Seven Senate Bills!

There are seven Senate bills waiting in the House that need your support. They have all passed in the Senate and need to move in House. There are many other bills that have merit and are waiting to move, but these seven are of particular import.

We must urge House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and House Elections Committee Chairwoman Stephanie Klick to support these bills and move them through the process. Bill information and contact numbers are provided below. Please remember to always be polite when calling.

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