Ensuring the integrity of Texans’ elections builds the public’s trust and confidence in their government. To assure Texans’ their vote is secure, several bills were passed to deter criminal election activity and bolster security for voting procedures.
House Bill 1243 (Hefner, et al. | SP: Hughes) upgrades the crime of illegal voting from a Class A misdemeanor to a second-degree felony. The bill also creates a state jail felony for attempting to illegally vote. This acts as a further deterrent from individuals committing fraud and undermining faith in elections and election results by means of illegally voting.
Senate Bill 1933 (Bettencourt | SP: Oliverson) authorizes the secretary of state’s office to order administrative oversight of a county office administering elections or voter registration if certain conditions are met. The bill also clarifies that randomized elections are only to be conducted for elections held on the unified election date. The need for such legislation was made evident in 2022 when the Harris County elections administrator office failed to enter 10,000 mail-in ballots into the election night count and had significant delays in releasing vote counts.
House Bill 1299 (Noble | SP: Paxton) requires that a voter signature placed on the carrier envelope of a ballot voted by mail must be done with ink on paper and prohibits these signatures from being electronic or photocopied. The bill also extends this clarification to criminal penalties for an unlawful carrier envelope action by person other than voter.
House Bill 1632 (Paul, et al. | SP: Middleton, et al.) requires the Texas Secretary of State to develop and provide a training program to election officials such as election clerks, presiding or alternate election judges, early voting ballot board members, and more.
Senate Bill 545 (Kolkhorst | SP: Toth) requires the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to implement an efficient and effective method to provide death record information to the secretary of state to assist in maintaining the statewide computerized voter registration list.
Senate Bill 1070 (Hughes | SP: Jetton, Jacey, et al.) enacts additional requirements for the Interstate Voter Registration Program which include checking for voters who have been convicted of a felony, or voters who are registered to vote in more than one state. The bill also requires that a provider of a private sector data system be contracted with in order to identify voters who are deceased or who are not eligible to vote for another reason, including a felony conviction.