Reps. Mike Lang (R-Granbury) and Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) filed separate bills (House Bill 1061 and House Bill 1072) that would require partisan voter registration and limit voters to participating in the primaries and/or conventions of their indicated party. Voters choosing not to indicate a party preference on their registrations would be listed as “independents” and barred from participating in any party’s nominating process. Voters may change their affiliation status, but must do so before the 31st day before a primary to be eligible to vote in that primary.

As far as we can tell, Texas has not required partisan voter registration since the abolition of the poll tax and creation of statewide voter registration in 1966.

In a press release, Lang said his intent was to prevent voters from other parties from interfering with a party’s nominating process. “I do not want a Democrat voting in a Republican primary just as much as I don’t want a Republican voting in a Democrat primary in order to sway the election and degrade the integrity of the race,” Lang said. He cited an email sent by the Hood Co. Democratic Party encouraging Democrats to vote in the Republican primary election “to get a more liberal candidate” elected.

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