Election Integrity

Election Integrity Fact vs. Fiction

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Over three months after the end of the 86thLegislative Session, myths and deceptive talking points still fill the narrative on the fate of election integrity. The truth is that Texas elections remain highly vulnerable and that the vast majority of legislation aimed at combating fraud failed to make it through the legislature. 

Senate Bill 9

Senate Bill 9 (SB9) by Senator Bryan Hughes was the omnibus bill that was to carry many of the needed reforms to prevent and prosecute election fraud. It would have increased criminal penalties for election fraud as well as adding civil penalties. The bill increased restrictions on illegal assistance and added limitations on countywide polling. Election code language about poll watchers and signature verification committees would have been improved. Verification of election accuracy would have been enhanced with new criteria for automatic recounts and by implementing risk limiting audits. It closed loopholes in the registration process and eliminated barriers for interstate cross check. Finally, it would have required a paper trail for every cast ballot.

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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.

Grassroots Coalition Letter on Secretary of State

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Today, conservatives from across the state are calling on Governor Greg Abbott to ensure his appointee to the position of Secretary of State is a proactive leader on election integrity.

In a letter delivered to Governor Greg Abbott’s office this morning, grassroots leaders have laid out several actions the incoming SoS can take to protect elections from known weaknesses.

This past Monday, Abbott named his Deputy Chief of Staff David Whitley to replace outgoing Rolando Pablos.

We look forward to learning more about Mr. Whitley in the coming days ahead of his nomination hearing and working with him to ensure necessary steps are being taken to combat election fraud in Texas.

The letter, included in its entirety below, was signed by over 136 political leaders across the state.

To continue reading, click HERE:

Tarrant County Voter Fraud Conviction Upheld

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The Texas 2ndCourt of Appeals has upheld Rosa Maria Ortega’s voter fraud conviction. Ortega, a non-citizen, resident alien was originally convicted and sentenced to eight years in jail by a Tarrant County jury for voting illegally.

Direct Action Texas staff were present during the original trial and witnessed Ortega’s testimony and attempted defense. Her attorney attempted to sway the jury with claims that “She voted Republican! Like some of you might have” and that one vote couldn’t make a difference in an election. His arguments were weak, at best, and failed to refute the evidence presented.

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