Securing election integrity from the Texas legislature this session has been needlessly complex.
Republicans in firm control of all branches of government should have crafted and expeditiously passed sound election laws shortly after the session began, 45 to 60 days max.
This was an emergency item, but instead of reforming the beleaguered bedrock of our form of governance, lawmakers fast-tracked tequila-to-go.
By comparison, Georgia passed a clean election integrity bill with a Voter ID requirement on mail-in ballots in a thirty-day session.
Lack of proper prioritization aside, the problems in Texas elections needing addressing weren’t unique, with the policy prescriptions known since the fall.
Yet, here we are, nearing the end of a second legislative session with election integrity outcomes less than certain.
The Senate in both 2019 and 2021 has passed robust bills aimed at fortifying trust in election processes. The House has fumbled what’s been handed off to them and mostly piddled on the margins.
This session, Senate Bill 7, is the election integrity bill that was most needed to ensure trust in our election process could rebound following the ad hoc election administration seen in multiple jurisdictions across Texas in 2020. It’s the one Governor Greg Abbott has been touting on Fox News and on private conference calls.
The House’s election integrity bill, HB6, dealt primarily with election fraud and poll watcher rights.
Both bills are important, but in terms of prioritization, HB6 is not nearly as crucial as stopping the abuse of state logistical resources by Mark Zuckerberg or voting from tents in the middle of the night during a rap concert.
Once SB7 was sent to the House, the best course of action would have been to endure the pain of an actual hearing on the measure, pass it out of committee, and get it to the floor for an up or down vote with minimal or no amendments.
Instead, Briscoe Cain traded the temporary pain in a committee room for a completely avoidable defrocking on the House floor. By gutting SB7 and replacing it with HB6, a floor fight was ensured as amendments would be necessary to make the helpful bill.
Last Thursday, Democrats were prepared for a fight, and the Republicans weren’t. The resultant SB7 is a bastardized bill no conservative should be proud to support. Below is a breakdown of amendments added to the bill last Thursday.Read More