Three election-related bills were among 50 vetoes issued by Gov. Greg Abbott.
House Bill 2410 by Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin) would have permitted a primary runoff to be conducted by mail if fewer than 100 votes were cast in the county’s primary election and no county-specific offices were on the ballot. As far as we can tell, this bill would have created the first elections in Texas held entirely by mail.
“Mail-ballot fraud is a serious problem that should be addressed by the Legislature in the upcoming special session,” Abbott said in his veto statement. “While there is cost to taxpayers associated with holding live elections, ensuring the integrity of our electoral process is well worth it.”
The bill passed the House on the Local and Consent Calendar, 133-12, with most of the nays coming from members of the Freedom Caucus. It passed the Senate on the Local and Uncontested Calendar, 25-6, with the nays coming from the body’s more conservative members.
House Bill 961 by Rep. Justin Rodriguez (D-San Antonio) would have permitted a junior college district’s board of trustees to adopt a resolution to elect its members by a plurality vote, thus avoiding the cost of running a typically low-turnout runoff election.
“In crowded races, this would result in the election of candidates who received a small percentage of voter support,” Abbott said in his veto statement. “These elections have important consequences for property owners and for junior colleges. They should not be treated like second-tier elections.”
The bill passed the House, 130-17, with most of the nays coming from members of the Freedom Caucus. It passed the Senate on the Local and Uncontested Calendar, 28-3, with the nays coming from the body’s more conservative members.
House Bill 3055 by Rep. Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City) would have permitted certain election administrators to hold certain non-partisan elective offices. The bill would have applied only to election administrators working in counties with a population of less than 1,000 people, and it would have permitted them to hold elective office if the county were outside the office’s jurisdiction. Election administrators are appointed by a committee of county officials and are not themselves elected to office.
Prohibiting election administrators from holding elected office “is a good rule that separates politics from the administration of elections,” Abbott said in his veto statement. “It should not be changed.”
The bill passed the House on the Local and Consent Calendar, 142-2, and passed the Senate, 30-0.
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