Election Integrity & Voter Confidence - Don Huffines for Texas Senate

  

Election Integrity & Voter Confidence

In addition to ethics reform, term limits, and tax relief for all Texans, I’m working this session to strengthen election integrity and bolster voter confidence in free and fair elections. First, I want to tell you about three of my bills that will give taxpayers a stronger voice in bond elections and improve election practices generally. 

 

Senate Bills 701, 702, and 703 - Bond Election Reform & Ending “Rolling Polling"

 

Low voter turnout is an issue in all elections, but especially in bond elections where low voter turnout can allow a small but vocal minority of the voting public to impose billions of dollars in additional debt and a higher tax rate on their entire community. Senate Bill 701 and 702 will help address the problem of low voter turnout. Senate Bill 701 requires all bond elections to be held on the November uniform election date, when, historically, voter turnout is significantly higher when compared to May election dates. Senate Bill 702 requires at least 33 percent of registered voters to vote in the same election in which a bond proposition is on the ballot in order for that bond to be authorized, ensuring that a significant portion of the community that will be responsible for paying the debt has their voices heard at the ballot box.

I have also filed Senate Bill 703 to stop the practice of "rolling polling." Rolling polling can be used to target locations and groups of people that are supportive of a particular ballot proposition or candidate, giving one side preferential treatment. Voting locations must be consistent and dependable so that voters know where to go to exercise their rights. By ending the practice of “rolling polling,” Senate Bill 703 will help give voters confidence that elections are being administered in a fair manner. Election administrators should not be free to pick and choose which portions of the electorate turn out to vote. 

Senate Bill 5 - Strengthening Texas’ Voter ID Law 

I have joint-authored Senate Bill 5 along with Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston) to give Texas’ smart voter ID a better chance of success in federal courts. Even though there is a new, Republican administration in Washington, D.C., and although the outlook is positive for our voter ID law, we cannot take the risk that it might be overturned by liberal judges who remain on the bench. Election integrity is key to the functioning of our representative republic, and voters must have confidence that their vote truly counts. 

Voter ID is a common sense policy to make sure our elections are fair and free of fraud, and Senate Bill 5 will help ensure that the federal courts don’t overturn our voter ID policy. 

Senate Bill 136 - Citizenship Verification for Voter Registration

All Texans can agree: only U.S. citizens have the right to vote in our elections! That’s why I signed my name to Senate Bill 136 by Senator Van Taylor (R-Plano) which will require that citizenship be verified before an individual is registered to vote. I was shocked to learn that citizenship is not currently verified, and I will work with my fellow Senators to fix that problem. 

Just recently, a Mexican citizen was convicted of illegally voting in Dallas County, and she tried to register to vote in Tarrant County, as well. That’s just one prominent example that proves that we must verify citizenship for voting!

Senate Bill 829 & Senate Bill 1144 - Paper Election Records

I strongly support Senate Bill 829 by Senator Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) and Senate Bill 1144 by Senator Bob Hall (R-Edgewood). The bills requires a paper audit trail, even when electronic voting machines are used. Although not currently utilized in Texas, certain voting machines on the market allow for a "voter-verified paper audit trail" (VVPAT) that gives voters recorded and instantly-verifiable proof of how their vote is recorded. Importantly, VVPAT technology also improves the ability of election administrators to count votes, conduct audits, and even conduct recounts when needed. VVPAT is currently in use in 14 states, including Arizona, California, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio.

We are currently seeing frequent reports of prominent institutions, both private sector and government, being hacked, identities being stolen, and sensitive data being compromised. In fact, in 2016, foreign governments compromised the records and communications of national partisan organizations, and of states' registration rolls, making election hacking a remote but serious possibility. We must close the door to the possibility of undue influence over our elections, and we must prevent foreign governments or other bad actors from exploiting our systems and driving an outcome that serves them better than it serves the American people. At minimum, real-time paper records will help inform us of any irregularities - whether benign or malicious - so appropriate remedies can be pursued.

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