The Senate this week is expected take up Senate Bill 9, an omnibus election integrity bill by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), who chaired an interim committee on election security. Broadly, the bill is the results of that committee’s work and would:

  • Require counties to use “auditable voting systems” that produce a paper record enabling a voter to verify their vote was cast as intended
  • Establish a “risk-limiting audit” pilot program to ensure electronic voting machines are counting votes accurately
  • Strengthen criminal and civil penalties for Election Code violations; and
  • Increase the certification requirements for people providing transportation and curb-side assistance to voters.

The bill passed the Senate State Affairs committee on a 7-2 party-line vote on April 1. Individuals representing Tea Party and conservative interest groups such as Concerned Women for America, Direct Action Texas, True Texas Elections spoke in favor of the bill at a public hearing last month. Opponents included individuals representing the Texas Civil Rights Project, Disability Rights Texas, MALDEF and the League of Women Voters.

Seven weeks remain in the regular legislative session.

CD17: Pflugerville IT manager Rick Kennedy reauthorized his campaign committee for a potential rematch against U.S. Rep. Bill Flores (R-Bryan), who defeated Kennedy, 56%-42%, last year.

CD21: Former Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor, said she will not challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) and may instead challenge U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Austin). Davis said on a recent podcast that she would support U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) if he chose to run for U.S. Senate.

CCA: Houston attorney William Demond established a campaign committee for an unspecified seat on the Court of Criminal Appeals, likely as a Democrat. Judges Bert Richardson (CCA3), Kevin Yeary (CCA4) and David Newell (CCA9) – all Republicans – are on the ballot in 2020.

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