Texas Senate approves 2020 results audit and toughens illegal voting penalties and takes another action on suspicion of fraudulent elections

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Republicans in the Texas Senate reversed their actions within two months, introduced a bill Tuesday, and increased criminal penalties for illegal voting. And looking for ways to scrutinize the results of the 2020 election, he also introduced a bill clarifying how party officials would initiate county audits.

Despite the lack of widespread evidence of fraud and fraud, both moves reflect the Texas Republican Party’s determination to advance efforts to strengthen the state’s voting law. And, despite the Senate’s efforts, both measures could stall once the Chamber approves.

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House Speaker Dade Ferrand has shown no interest in increasing the penalty for illegal voting. On the other hand, the audit bill is not on the agenda. Governor Greg Abbott is preparing for the current special legislative session and is also questioning whether it will work in the House of Representatives.

Republican senators hit back at a harsh voting bill they’ve supported over the past few months to further limit the state’s voting process and reduce local control of elections while approving Senate Bill 10 in a partisan vote Can you I did The bill included a nearly unnoticed change by the House of Representatives that reduced the penalty for illegal voting from two felony charges to one Class A felony charge. Abbott signed the bill, Senate Bill 1, and less than a month later, but last week ordered lawmakers to reverse course.

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Two felony offenses in Texas can be punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and a Class A felony can be punishable by up to one year in prison, but fines can be imposed.

“Or [House] The process was later rectified, the smoke went out, and everyone had time to look at all the details… it would maintain the status quo,” said Brian Hughes of Republican Mineola, who wrote to both. The senator said. Penal changes and the Basic Law.

The changes were made during regular floor debates in the House of Representatives and abandoned after Republicans in both houses negotiated and approved the final version of the bill, which included reduced penalties.

Ferran does not appear to be in favor of resuming previous convictions for illegal voting. Soon after Abbott added punishment to the agenda, the speaker said: Post to twitter The changes contained in SB1 are “no time to move on again”.

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He previously told the Houston Chronicle that the penalty change was in line with Congress’s “holistic approach to improving electoral integrity,” which struck a “proper balance between ballot access and accountability.” He said that it is.

Senate Republicans also reviewed previous legislation in advancing Senate Bill 47, empowering party officials in all states or counties to begin mandatory reviews of the 2020 election. The legislation is a copy of most of the hastily convened bill passed by the Senate at the end of the last special legislative session. She never reached the House as the session of both the houses had ended on the same day.

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A new move in the audit bill comes as former President Donald Trump is pressuring Abbott and Texas Republicans to take on their crusaders, who expressed unfounded doubts about the outcome of the elections held nearly a year ago. Will happen Trump specifically urged Abbott to move forward with the audit bill, even though the state announced a “full court audit” of four counties after an initial request for the bill, which reviewed mail and face-to-face voting. will allow. I did entire state.

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 elections, and fraudulent voting is generally rare in states.

The Secretary of State’s review will help with a more limited assessment of the 2020 elections. They are among four counties that already need to apply to cover post-election proceedings and primarily review the records that counties need to maintain.

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In contrast, the audit law allows state or county party presidents to review the 2020 elections by simply submitting a written request to the county secretary. This includes a review of the actual ballot papers that were voted in the election.

“We believe we have to ask questions and get answers,” said R-Houston Senator Paul Bettencourt, who drafted the bill. “It does exactly that. Asking questions and getting answers builds everyone’s confidence in the election system and the integrity of the electoral roll.”

Election advocates have raised concerns that the law could open the door to politically motivated audits. On the Senate floor, Democrats pushed back the legislation, with a bill submitted for review and lack of standards to control the role of the secretary of state in conducting audits under the bill. I questioned.

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In future elections, as in the second part of the bill, the candidate, the county party president, the polling place judge, or the chairman of the ballot-taking political action committee will audit if fraud is suspected. can be promoted.

The process begins with a written request to the county clerk for “explanatory and supporting documents” of alleged irregularities or violations of election law. If the person requesting the review is not “satisfied” with the response, they can request “further clarification”. If you’re still unsatisfied, you can ask the Texas Secretary of State to audit the issue.

If the Secretary of State determines that the county’s explanation is insufficient, the Secretary of State should immediately begin auditing the matter at the expense of the county.

A similar audit bill presented to the House of Representatives last month remained untouched.

Disclosure: The Texas Secretary of State is a financial supporter of the Texas Tribune, a non-profit, non-partisan news organization funded partially by donations from members, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no part in Tribune journalism. Find their full list here.

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Texas Senate approves 2020 results audit and toughens illegal voting penalties and takes another action on suspicion of fraudulent elections

Source link Texas Senate approves 2020 results audit and stricter illegal voting penalties and takes another action on suspicion of fraudulent elections

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