CD6 special: The State Republican Executive Committee endorsed Susan Wright on a 43-9 vote. This appears to be an uncommon practice. Texas Young Republicans also endorsed Wright.

The Texas Farm Bureau AGFUND endorsed Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie).

Election Legislation: On a party-line vote, the Senate State Affairs Committee approved Senate Bill 7 by Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), the chamber’s omnibus election integrity bill, following around five hours of public testimony on Friday. Major provisions of Senate Bill 7 include:

  • Prohibits an early voting clerk from soliciting a voter to complete an absentee ballot application if the voter did not request it
  • Requires a voter to prove their disability in writing when requesting an absentee ballot on that basis
  • Directs the Secretary of State to develop an online tool to enable voters to track their absentee ballots
  • Requires counties using countywide polling places to have approximately the same number of voting machines at each location (regardless of demand for them)
  • Prohibits no-excuse drive-up voting and utilizing a “temporary moveable structure” as a polling place
  • Requires that any other persons in a car with a curbside voter be eligible to accompany that voter inside the polling station, and requires anyone providing transportation to a curbside voter to complete a firm affirming the voter’s inability to enter a polling place
  • 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
  • Limits in-person early voting hours to between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. local time
  • Requires a “paper audit trail” for votes cast electronically
  • Requires tests of electronic voting systems to demonstrate that “the source code of the equipment has not been altered”
  • Requires the Secretary of State to approve any donation over $1K made to a county to be used for election administration
  • Establishes a number of civil and criminal penalties for election law violations; and
  • Provides that any allegation of voter fraud committed by or on behalf of a candidate must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.

Consideration of the bill was delayed when five Democrats tagged the bills on Tuesday, preventing their consideration for at least 48 hours. The bill is opposed by voting rights groups and advocates for people with disabilities, who argue the bill will make it harder for many Texans to vote.

The House’s omnibus bill, House Bill 6 by Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park), was also delayed last week. 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. The bill is scheduled to be heard on Thursday.

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