Texas and America are truly at a crossroads when it comes to the administration of elections. The political left is trying to consolidate power and squash what looks like a revitalization of the populist movement.
During the 2021 legislative session, there are broad categories of bills dealing with election integrity that Direct Action Texas will support or oppose.
Voter ID alterations: Several bills seek to “update” language in the election code related to voter identification are filed. There is no apparent, well-argued reason for updating this practice. Some of the suggested changes will lower security and verification of ID and will continue to lower trust in elections.
Universal mail-in balloting: At all levels of government, Democrats will be pushing for more mail-in balloting. When the pandemic hit, abuse and unlawful expansion of the practice took place in many jurisdictions across Texas.
Expanded curb-side voting: To be clear, the expansion of curbside (drive-thru voting), while it was sold as a protection against the spread of COVID19, is not a reasonable or practical solution. Election administrators and poll workers will testify that curbside voting is a logistical headache that has been and should remain available in a limited fashion.
Electronification of elections: Several bills are filed every session to push elections out of the physical realm and into the digital. While claims abound, no evidence of an election being stolen via electronic vote switching has been verified. Nonetheless, it’s abundantly clear that the adoption and increased use of electronics in the election process do not build trust.
Additionally, moving election functions to email or online, including communications, voting, and registering, are objectionable due to the insecure, unverifiable, and hackable nature.
Also, “wet” signatures, not electronic or photocopied, are the most secure form of identification, and any movement away from them is ill advised.
Procedure clarifications: Too much of election law is vague. Without clear instructions, elections are administered in a slapdash fashion, which has an anticipated effect on confidence in elections, it’s lowered.
Mail-in ballot reform: This election cycle revealed the scourge that mail-in balloting is on our elections. Democrats have historically admitted this reality but in 2020 and on a going-forward basis appear ready to exploit the weaknesses of this method of voting to manufacture elections where they might otherwise lose.
Penalties for bad behavior: Legislation that enacts and raises penalties for an illicit activity or, in some cases, the dereliction of duty will be supported. Following the passage of SB 5 in 2017, which defined organized election fraud, increased many misdemeanors to felonies, and created other criminal penalties, loopholes for bad actors remain.
Risk limiting audits: Trust in elections would be significantly improved with the Secretary of State and law enforcement entities’ ability to conduct risk-limiting audits.
Civil penalties and timelines: Currently, remedies and paths to prosecution for election fraud allegations are onerous, time-constrained, and consuming.
Civil penalties for election fraud would afford aggrieved parties more comfortable access to the courts and provide remedies that are commensurate with the damage caused by both the act of committing fraud and the cost of pursuing justice after it’s saved.
Current timelines for certifying elections and proving up allegations of fraud are too tight and need to be extended to accommodate quick but thorough research of election activity.