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SB9 clears House committee

Let the stalling tactics begin!

Still the only voter ID anyone should need

The House Elections Committee voted Friday to advance a controversial election bill, setting up a race to get it onto the full chamber’s agenda ahead of bill-killing deadlines that start this weekend.

The committee approved Senate Bill 9 by Republican state Sen. Bryan Hughes on a 5-4 party-line vote during a short meeting on the House floor called two days after the panel heard hours of public testimony — a vast majority in opposition of the bill — during a marathon hearing that ran past midnight.

SB 9 is a wide-ranging bill that makes more than two dozen changes to election practices. Among the provisions are one to make it a felony for Texans who vote when they’re ineligible — even if they do so unknowingly — and another to allow partisan poll watchers or election officials to be present at a voting station if a voter is getting help from someone who isn’t a relative. Those individuals would then be allowed to examine the voter’s ballot before it’s submitted to determine whether it was filled out “in accordance with the voter’s wishes.”

The legislation also grants the state attorney general direct access to the voter rolls and essentially allows Texas to participate in a controversial, Kansas-based voter verification program that has proved to be unreliable and riddled with cybersecurity weaknesses.

[…]

The bill now heads to the House Calendars Committee, which sets the full chamber’s agenda. If it makes it onto the House calendar, the chamber will need to approve it before a midnight deadline Tuesday. Already running against the clock, the House Elections Committee delayed a vote on the bill twice, canceling a Thursday vote when too few Republicans would be in the room to get it out of committee.

See here for the background. AT this point, there are two main questions. First, can the Democrats do enough to delay this bill from getting to the House floor? (Assuming it gets on the calendar, which I figure it will.) And second, if the Dems manage to delay it to death, does Greg Abbott call a special session to revive it? My best guesses are Yes for the first, and Too Soon To Tell for the second. Let’s take it one step at a time and see where we go. In the meantime, keep calling your legislators to let them know that SB9 is a bad bill. The Observer has more.

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5 Comments

  1. Bill_Daniels says:

    Saw an anti SB9 commercial on one of the Sunday shows just now. They’re framing it as harming disabled veterans. Okay, I’d be proud to bring a van load of disabled vets to go vote, and I’d be proud to show you my DL and swear that I didn’t pay those heros to get in the van with me.

  2. Ross says:

    @Bill, the section on volunteer drivers is not the worst part of the bill. The section that allows a poll watcher to examine a ballot that was done with assistance of a non-family member to determine if the ballot was prepared according to the wishes of the voter is far worse, and has great potential for conflict and votes not being counted.

    The Republicans are deathly afraid of the demographic trends, and are using every bad method to retain power, rather than promoting policies and laws that more folks can agree on. I am sick and tired of Dan “Despicable Human Being” Patrick and his fellow travelers spending time on useless laws like SB9, the anti-abortion bullshit, etc, while ignoring the issues with school finance, roads, and health care that are far more important.

  3. Jules says:

    Nonsense comment, the affidavit is not for swearing the voters were not paid by the driver. It’s not applicable to SB9.

  4. Bill_Daniels says:

    @Ross,

    I’ll just note that it was the anti SB9 folks who chose taking disabled vets to the polls as the subject of their attack ad, not me. As to the section you mentioned, allowing poll watchers to determine if the ballot was prepared according to the wishes of the voter, let me ask you…..say I run over to the ‘memory care’ wing of a nursing home and load all the patients up in the van for a trip to the park, but ‘need’ to make a quick pit stop at the voting booth, so they can vote, and I tell them they need to vote Dan Patrick because the other guy wants to close the park and also kills bunnies for fun. That OK with you?

    Can you see how that might be concerning? Wouldn’t you like to have someone watch me interact with the ‘memory care’ patient to determine whether they were making an independent decision themselves?

  5. Jules says:

    Chron says it’s dead. I hope so!