WASHINGTON, D.C. — Between Monday, April 17 and Thursday, April 20, the Texas Senate passed at least nine bills that interfere with election administration or make it harder to vote or register to vote. The bills include:
- Senate Bill 990, which would eliminate the countywide polling program that allows voters to vote at any polling place in their county on Election Day. These voting centers would still be permitted throughout early voting. Currently, a range of 90 large and small counties are permitted to use countywide voting centers on Election Day.
- Senate Bill 220, which would create a system of election marshals to investigate alleged violations of election law and intervene in local election administration. The bill would also disqualify judges from presiding over lawsuits if the election officials party to the suit are from the same jurisdiction and accelerate the timeline for election lawsuits.
- Senate Bill 1750, which would eliminate the election administrator position in counties with a population of 3.5 million or more (Houston’s Harris County is the only county with this many people in the state) and instead give that authority to the county tax assessor-collector and county clerk.
- Senate Bill 1938, which would permit the secretary of state to withhold funds from a registrar who fails to perform duties related to challenges to voter registration eligibility.
- Senate Bill 260, which would initiate the process of removing a voter from the voter registration list if they have not voted in an election in the previous 25 months.
- Senate Bill 1807 which would create an enforcement mechanism and civil penalty for officials who change any election procedure required by law without authorization.
Other Senate approved bills would require voters to prove their citizenship when registering to vote, adopt new procedures for automatic recounts, add new reporting requirements on county election administrators subject to penalties and more. All of the bills now head to the Texas House of Representatives, where they have strong chances of advancing through the Republican-controlled chamber.