Texas passes Republican-backed Election Integrity Bill

On Friday, the Texas House of Representatives approved a Republican-backed electoral reform bill that would add new sanctions and rules, making it the last Republican-led state legislature to pass similar legislation in recent days.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott praised the state's Republican lawmakers Friday for passing the bill in the House.

The House of Representatives passed Bill No. 7 in the Senate by 78-64 votes, mostly by party line. The bill, which was first passed in the Senate but has been largely reworked in the House, will now return to the Texas Senate for a vote on it.

“This bill will help ensure that we have trust & confidence in the outcome of our elections,” Gov. Abbott wrote in a tweet. “One step closer to my desk & making it TX law.”

This measure would make providing voters with a mail application to vote if they had not applied for it a felony. It would also prohibit the use of public funds to facilitate the distribution of mail-in voting applications.

“A person commits an offense if the person knowingly collects or possesses a ballot voted by mail or official carrier envelope from a voter in connection with vote harvesting services,” the bill’s text reads.

Also according to the bill, election observers can only be removed by a judge if the observer participates in an activity that would constitute an offense related to the conduct of the elections. During the November 3, 2020 elections, many Republican election observers reported that they had been unfairly treated or expelled from polling stations in areas such as Philadelphia, Detroit, and Atlanta.

Democrats and progressive groups criticized the bill and claimed it is tantamount to “voter suppression,”

But Republicans, including Texas state representative, Jeff Leach, said the measure was “strong [and] sensible election integrity legislation that guarantees and protects full access to the polls while deterring and cracking down activity on illegal activity that undermines our elections.”

May 8, 2021

Mary Hill

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