Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) issued interim study charges to the standing and select committees of the House of Representatives. Many, including one election-related charge, direct committees to assess the impacts from Hurricane Harvey or the potential response to future natural disasters.
The Committee on Elections was given four charges:
- Study the potential impact of disaster events on election administration and security. Specifically, examine any effects or vulnerabilities identified during Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent recovery period.
- Study the efficiency and security of the state’s existing election protocols and systems, including but not limited to registration and early voting procedures, ballot styles, and the rules regarding time and location of polls. Identify available processes and options which could lead to increased voter participation and election integrity.
- Study the process for establishing onsite early voting for voters who reside at a residential care facility. Specifically, review the provisions signed into law by H.B. 658 (85R) and subsequently repealed with the passage of H.B. 184 (85(1)); and
- Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
Committees typically hold hearings on their charges during the interim – the time between sessions of the Legislature – and release a report on their findings and recommendations before the next regular session begins. The Committee on Elections has held interim hearings in recent years but has not issued a formal interim report since January 2013 (pdf).
A list of all interim charges can be found here (pdf).