The House Elections Committee heard public testimony on Senate Bill 9, an omnibus “election integrity” bill by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), during a contentious hearing today (Wednesday). A committee substitute offered by Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth), the committee’s chair, appeared to make a number of significant changes from the Senate-passed version, but those changes did not appear to change opponents’ views of the bill overall:
- The Texas Assoc. of Election Administrators called the bill “bad policy” as it subjects poll workers – many of whom are volunteers – to new or increased criminal penalties.
- Disability advocates objected to provisions that they argue would make it harder for people to assist disabled voters.
- The League of Women Voters had several objections, including to provisions which would impose “burdensome and unnecessary new forms just to help people vote” and would give “state officials more access to voters’ private information.
- MALDEF and the American Civil Liberties Union argued several of the bill’s provisions would have the effect of suppressing minority voters.
According to the Texas Tribune’s Alexa Ura, 233 of the 256 people who registered a position on the bill were opposed.
Supporters, including Tea Party and other conservative groups, argued that the bill’s changes were necessary to protect the integrity of the state’s elections. Much of the bill’s language arose from the work of an interim Senate committee on election integrity.
Testimony was still ongoing as of 11:45 CDT. Klick called for a formal meeting tomorrow (Thursday) morning to vote on the bill, which would put it just ahead of a Saturday deadline for House committees to vote out Senate Bills. The bill must then be placed on a House calendar and passed by Tuesday, where it would then return to the Senate for further action.
CD23: The campaign of Democratic challenger Gina Ortiz Jones said she raised more than $100K on the day she officially entered the race. Meanwhile, San Antonio resident Brandyn Waterman established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) as a Democrat.
CD35: San Antonio resident Tony Gonzales II established a campaign committee for a potential challenge of U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) as a Republican. 706614
Dallas: U.S. Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas) and Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) endorsed Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) for the mayoral runoff.
McAllen: A recount did not alter the results of the D5 council race, which resulted in a runoff between incumbent John Ingram (49.9%) and Seby Haddad (40%).
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