Thursday is the deadline to register or update your registration to vote in the May 1 general and special elections.

Where required by ordinance, candidates on the May 1 ballot must file their 30-day-out campaign finance reports by Thursday. This requirement does not apply to the candidates running in the concurrent CD6 special election. Their pre-special election reports are not due until April 19, which is the day early voting begins.

Thursday is also the day that the House Elections Committee will resume its consideration of House Bill 6 by Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park), the committee chair. The bill would create new and increase existing criminal penalties for various violations of the Election Code. Its major provisions include:

  • Prohibits an early voting clerk from soliciting a voter to complete an absentee ballot application if the voter did not request it
  • Requires anyone who assists a voter to complete a form that includes how they assisted, why the assistance was needed and their relationship to the voter
  • Prohibits a poll watcher from being removed from a polling place unless the watcher is engaged in an “activity that would constitute an offense related to election fraud”
  • Places limitations on “vote harvesting services”
  • Expressly prohibits a public official from altering, waiving or suspending an “election standard, practice or procedure mandated by law or rule” without statutory authorization; and
  • Provides priority status to election-related judicial reviews within two months of an election.

The bill was under consideration last week when a disagreement over whether Rep. Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth), who is not a committee member, could ask questions of Cain, who was laying out the bill, led to a hastily called recess. Because a time for reconvening was not announced, the committee was unable to come back into session. More than 100 people were registered to testify at that hearing.

The committee will also consider House Bill 2092 by Rep. Scott Sanford (R-McKinney), which would require partisan affiliation to run for municipal office.