On a 5-2 vote, the Senate State Affairs Committee approved a bill that would create new “explanation” and “audit” processes to address “irregularities” in county election administration. Senate Bill 97 by Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) was filed yesterday (Wednesday), heard in and voted out of committee today (Thursday) and is headed to the Senate floor with three days to go in the special session.

The bill would require county clerks to provide an “explanation and any supporting documentation” to certain people who submit a written request. Requestors could be candidates, county chairs, presiding and alternate presiding election judges or, in the case of a ballot measure, the head of a campaign committee supporting or opposing it. If the requestor is “not satisfied” with the response they get, they may request “further explanation” from the county clerk. Clerks have 20 and 10 days, respectively, to provide “the requested explanation and any supporting documentation.”

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