Third Times A Charm: The 84th Texas Legislature Revives House Voter Registration Bill

Ever get stuck on ONE topic and write about it until you can't possibly write about it anymore? Nah, me neither. So, you'll excuse me for writing once again about election law and election integrity. Both are extremely important to maintain free and fair elections. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be one of those countries that has to dip our thumbs in purple ink to prove that we haven't voted more than once. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

So, to prevent us going to that extreme, despite some differences in opinion that we all may have with our representatives, there is some good legislation that has been written and introduced to help keep voter fraud at bay, none of which, I might add, have ANYTHING to do with approving online voter registration. That's another topic for another day.

House Bill 1096 has been written and introduced by Representative Jim Murphy and it's a bill "relating to the residence address of a person for purposes of registration under the Election Code." Now, as election law sits, there are lots of loopholes in the laws regarding voter registration. For example, you could put your place of residence as a big open field that you, 'plan' to build on later, all the while living somewhere else. Or, you could live in a mansion and have your address for your voter registration be some tiny apartment with 100 other voters registered to the same address in Sheila Jackson Lee's district. I kid you not.

This bill, should it become law, basically tightens down on the loopholes and makes it so that the following matches your voter registration:

a) your drivers license

b) your primary residence

c) concealed handgun license adress

d) address of property where person has a homestead exemption

So, here's where we're at in the process of HB 1096. It has been reviewed by the Elections Committee and testimony on the bill is scheduled for March 16, 2015. A panel of the committee members will listen to testimony, both pro and con for the bill and then they will make a decision based on their findings there. Once they decide to let it leave the Elections committee, it will head to the Calendars committee, and they will determine whether the bill makes it to the house floor. This particular bill has been brought up twice before. Testimony has been heard on it both times, and unfortunately, it has never made it out of committee.

So, if you agree that this bill needs to be passed out of committee and a chance to be handed off to calendars and the process continued, I would encourage you to contact the members of the Elections Committee. Click on the link provided here to see all of the members.

I said it before, and I'll say it again, the game to steal elections is always afoot, so please help protect your ballot. Through GOTV efforts at election time, staying vigilant at the polls when working as an election judge or clerk and paying attention during the legislative session, we can all work together to ensure free and fair elections continue here in the state of Texas.

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