SB 9 Fake News Debunked
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.
This section of SB 9 did not appear out of thin air. There is a reason for this bill, vote harvesters. Nefarious people get creative when their usual methods are taken away and we have been chipping away at them. The Election Code has eliminated the ability for voters to obtain a record of their vote. Photos are not allowed. Machines do not print receipts you keep. So, if a harvester wants to be sure someone votes a particular way, he or she has to be physically present as an “assistant”.
Inside the polling location, assistants have to fill out a form identifying themselves and sign an oath to not influence the voter. Without it, no one can stand over your shoulder and help you vote. SB 9 simply attempts to provide the same protection to voters voting in a vehicle. In the close quarters of a car or van, it would be easy for the driver to observe the selections of all the passengers, even if there is no “assistance” given. That is how the harvester knows the voter earned whatever he or she has been promised. This can be cash, food, drugs, it varies.
This section simply requires assistants to identify themselves and leave a trail for investigators, if fraud occurs. It is unfortunate that we are forced to go to these lengths, but they are necessary. They are for the protection of the voter. The elderly, the disadvantaged, and those who speak English as a second language are often victimized in these schemes. Every vote is sacred. Every vote must be protected. Every voter’s vote should be his or her own.
So, keep bringing eligible voters to the polls by car, bus, van, helicopter, etc. Senate Bill 9 won’t stop you.