House Ballot Fraud Bill – HB184 vs. HB47
The special session is nearing an end and the Governor’s call for increased penalties for mail in voter fraud has stalled in the House in the form of HB 184.
There is a lot of discussion, driven largely by our office, as to the differences between HB184 by Goldman and HB47 by Schofield. We are fighting FOR HB184;, let me tell you why.
First, let me back up and discuss something that happened during regular session. The TX Legislature passed a bill we now refer to as the “nursing home” bill. This flew under the radar and was added at the last minute as an amendment. This bill opens up every nursing home in Texas to ballot harvesting. It creates an unfunded mandate on every county, and many, many other problematic details. The Democrat party has been bragging about getting this bill passed. One party official even bragged that the Dem party has already calculated this bill will get them nearly 300,000 additional harvested ballots. They did the math;, they wrote the bill;, they got it passed. THIS IS A VERY BIG PROBLEM. This week over 100 county election administrators signed a letter opposing this legislation.
The main difference between HB184 and HB47, both as amended, is that HB184 FULLY REPEALS the nursing home bill. Let me be clear – the “nursing home” bill is flawed at every level, it cannot be “fixed”, but must be repealed. HB47 naively attempts to patch the “nursing home” bill. This is like trying to fix Obamacare. Repeal and Replace is the only viable choice. This difference alone is worth the fight.
Aside from that, HB184 differentiates itself from HB47 in several ways., I’ll list some of them here:
HB184 prohibits electronic signatures on applications and carrier envelopes. HB47 does not.
HB184 requires original copy of applications, no more faxed or emailed mail in applications. HB47 does not.
HB184 adds preservation of ballot materials including canceled ballots and a mandatory reporting to the AG’s office. This is vital to track and document fraud for the long term elimination of it. HB47 does not.
HB184 includes voter impersonation penalties for using a mail in ballot., HB47 does not.
HB184 clarifies that the two signatures on the application and carrier envelope must both be that of the voter, not just match. HB47 does not.
HB184 adds liability to ballot board members who accept invalid signatures. HB47 does not.
HB184 adds new wording to Sec 276.013 of the election code which defines voter fraud more clearly and gives law enforcement the tools they need to go after violators
HB184 simply covers more detail and stitches up the existing problems in a more solid manner. This is largely due to the fact that HB184 was written by a team: from the AG’s office, to Rep. Goldman’s office, Governor’s office, Sen. Hancock’s office and others. HB47 has 9 sponsors, while HB184 has 81 Authors and Co-Authors. 81!
HB184 is the better bill. The clock is running out.