Election Integrity With 20 Days to Go in Session

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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.

HB6 and SB7 shared little outside of poll watcher protections, and SB7 had all of the clarifications to code needed after abuse by leftists in Harris and other counties in 2020.

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.

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Statement on SB7 Moving to Committee

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On Monday, the Texas House read SB7 for the first time and referred it to the Elections Committee.

This is an important development that comes just a week after the Senate passed its omnibus election measure off to the lower chamber.

Quick movement of this bill through the legislative process is crucial as SB7 complements and supplements the House’s omnibus election measure, HB6, by Rep. Briscoe Cain.

While both bills are classified as omnibus, they deal with substantively different parts of the code. There are some overlapping reforms, such as protecting poll watchers’ rights and collecting more information about assistance given to a voter, but there are fewer similarities than differences.

Grassroots activists concerned with election integrity are encouraged to contact Chairman Cain’s office and ask that SB7 be scheduled for a hearing and quick passage to ensure robust election integrity measures don’t fail for a lack of time in the session.

Chair Cain – (512) 463-0733

Call for Immediate Movement on SB7

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There’s an old saying in Tennessee, at least it’s in Texas, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me — can’t get fooled again.

Senate Bill 7, an omnibus election bill that deals with administration issues at the heart of the assault on our elections and the rule of law in 2020, has passed out of the Senate and is now in the House where it needs to be read for the first time and referred to committee.

Call on Speaker Phelan to expedite this emergency item for first reading and assignment to committee.

Office # (512) 463-1000

In 2019, major election integrity legislation was delayed in the legislature and ultimately killed. Texans won’t get fooled again.

And, while this session appears to be different (SB7 beat 2019’s SB9 to the House by 10 days and HB6 is stronger than any HB authored and heard in 2019), pressure on lawmakers to abandon needed reforms is mounting.

Major corporations and the media is arrayed against needed election integrity bills, specifically SB7 and HB6, and lawmakers need to hear from constituents to counteract this energy.

Where we are now was the first major delay in the process in 2019. It took almost two weeks for SB9 to be read and referred after it moved from the Senate to the House.

Keeping that old saying from Tennessee in mind, our first job is to beat that two-week delay. Give Speaker Phelan’s office a polite call to expedite this emergency item for first reading and assignment to committee his office number is (512) 463-1000.

We’ll have more steps after this is done but let’s take things one step at a time.

Election Law Updates Needed After Democrat Assault

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Legislation authored this session to strengthen Texas elections is largely due to local officials opportunistically making up rules as they went along in 2020.

The media is feverishly working to reframe this truth by attacking reforms, and incorrectly labeling them suppression; here’s a Dallas Morning News editorial straining to accomplish this feat.

The DMN, to its credit, acknowledges that election fraud is real, and then it sets a reasonable bar, “Good policymaking means identifying specific issues, raising them with the public and proposing solutions that fix what’s wrong.”

This is exactly what’s happening this legislative session and what didn’t happen in 2020, a fact that doesn’t fit the complaints the DMN editorial board has with proposed and needed reforms.

Harris County didn’t implement drive-thru voting under the DMN prescribed deliberative process.

The window dressing for drive-thru voting to, keep voters safe from the coronavirus, was a pretense to circumvent law and legislative intent after Democrats tried but failed in 2019 to expand curbside voting.

It certainly wasn’t about health. Bexar County didn’t implement drive-thru voting after the county medical officer testified the practice was more likely to spread illness.

In fact, the move to unilaterally implement drive-thru voting was reckless and put Harris County in real danger of being disenfranchised. Clarifying election law to stop further abuses like those perpetrated by Chris Hollins will protect votes.

The same pattern applies to reforms to mail-in balloting and when polls should be open to voting.

Current state law prescribes when polls should be open, 7 AM to 7 PM. The 2020 liberal interpretation of this is that it’s a minimum, not a cap. For decades, a plain reading of the statute has led to adherence to 7 AM to 7 PM voting.

It’s a bad-faith argument to suggest legislation clarifying that this is a range of hours within voting should happen is somehow suppression. It just ends goofy midnight vote rap concerts.

Like the voting hours, mail-in voting in Texas has a well-established record of legislative intent, that it be limited to the elderly, infirm, travelers, and the eligible imprisoned.

Democrats, in their assault on Texas elections in 2020, tried to expand mail-in balloting and make it universal. Some encouraged Texans to lie on applications and claim they were disabled.

Clarifying and adding safeguards is about stopping future planned assaults on elections, and it’s happening in the Texas legislature because it’s the will of the people.

Texas Lagging Other States on Election Reforms

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Last week omnibus election integrity reform bills were filed in both the House and Senate. Texas is way behind.

The question now, is that part of the plan?

The state of Arizona has already passed completely or voted on three important measures aimed at safeguarding elections.

Among the reforms are curtailing mail-in ballot use (SB 1713), amending voter roll tending policies (SB 1485), and a bill (HB 2569) that bans government officials from taking private donations to pay for any aspect of election administration.

That last one is a must-pass after the 2020 election. Big tech companies, not content with manipulating users online, spent big to influence the election’s outcome by dictating voter outreach and administration practices.

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