Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law bills that conform the state’s Voter ID law to recent judicial rulings and end the option to cast a single-punch, straight-party ballot after the 2018 general election.

Senate Bill 5 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) codifies a process for voters who have a reasonable impediment to obtaining a photo identification to cast ballots. The bill makes an intentionally false statement on a declaration of reasonable impediment a state jail felony, splitting the difference between the Senate version, which made it a third degree felony, and the House version, which made it a Class A misdemeanor. It takes effect January 1.

House Bill 25 by Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton) ends the practice of voting for all of a party’s candidates using a single punch, mark or other action. Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), the bill’s Senate sponsor, added an amendment delaying its effective date until September 1, 2020. During the legislative process, Democrats warned of litigation against both measures. A status conference is scheduled for June 7 as part of the ongoing Voter ID litigation.

The other bills we highlighted earlier this week await Abbott’s action.

Note: Jeff Blaylock, publisher of Texas Election Source, is on record as being in favor of House Bill 25.

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