Election legislation roundup: Texas House of Representatives

As of Nov. 19, Ballotpedia has tracked 200 election-related bills in the Texas House of Representatives since the beginning of the year. Of the 200, Ballotpedia tracked five from Nov. 13-19. Republicans sponsored four, while Democrats sponsored one. The five bills are below:   

  • TX HB70: Relating to the combination of certain election precincts, Rep. David Cook (R).
    • “As introduced, this bill:
      • Provides that if, due to redistricting implementation, a county election precinct has fewer than 500 registered voters, a commissioners court, or county executive committee of a political party in a primary, may combine precincts.
      • Provides that county election precincts in counties with fewer than 250,000 people may also be combined if changes result in precincts with 500-750 voters.
      • Adds that a county with a population of less than 1.2 million, not participating in the countywide polling place program, may combine precincts if a suitable polling place cannot be secured, or if it serves voters of both precincts.
      • Specifies that the combined precinct is still subject to certain maximum population sizes as prescribed in existing law.”
  • TX HB63: Relating to a requirement that an election for a member of a board of trustees of an independent school district is partisan, Rep. Steve Toth (R).
    • “As introduced, this bill:
      • Enacts partisan school board elections, requiring a candidate filing for school board to state their aligned party, including the option of not aligning with any given party.
      • Designates the general election date for all school board elections, requiring districts to make the change by December 31, 2023.
      • Implements that all school board terms will be four years.
      • Requires primary elections for school board members.
      • Applies a $75 filing fee to run as a candidate for school board.”
      • Click the hyperlinked bill number above for more information.
  • TX HB31: Relating to electronic voter registration, Rep. John Bucy (D).
    • “As introduced, this bill:
      • Directs the secretary of state to work with the department of public safety and the department of information resources to implement online voter registration.
      • Submits that an online voter registrant should have an unexpired driver’s license or ID and must complete an oath, and provide assent to the use of his or her electronic signature.
      • Specifies that if someone registering online does not have proper unexpired ID, he or she must attest to the truth of the information provided in the application and digitally sign the application.
      • Directs the secretary of state to provide related rules and security measures.
      • Directs the secretary of state to include in a prominent location on the voter registration website a description of the offense of a false statement on an application.”
      • Click the hyperlinked bill number above for more information.
  • TX HB102: Relating to the selection of the chief appraiser of an appraisal district; authorizing a fee, Rep. Cecil Bell (R).
    • “As introduced, this bill:
      • Provides that the chief appraiser will be elected at the state general election by voters in the county.
      • Provides that the chief appraiser will serve a two year term.
      • Codifies an eligibility requirement, requiring candidates to be residents of the county for the past four years.
      • Submits that a political party may nominate a chief appraiser of an appraisal district for election by convention or a candidate may be nominated through a primary election.
      • Sets a filing fee for candidates for chief appraiser of $1,250 for a county population of 200,000 or more, and $750 for a population that is smaller.”
      • Click the hyperlinked bill number above for more information.
  • TX HB105: Relating to confirmation of a voter’s residence by a voter registrar, Rep. Jacey Jetton (R).
    • “As introduced, this bill removes the option for the registrar to confirm an address if he or she believes that it may be different than the one indicated on the registration records, instead requiring the registrar to send a written confirmation notice if: the voter’s address is a post office box, or similar; or if on November 30 following an election the voters has not voted in 25 months and is not on the suspense list; or if the registrar has any other reason to believe the address is incorrect.”

During the week of Nov. 13-19, Ballotpedia tracked five House election-related bills nationally. As of Nov. 19, Ballotpedia has tracked 1,798 House bills nationally. Ballotpedia tracked the most House bills this year in the Texas House of Representatives with 200, while Ballotpedia tracked the fewest House bills in the Colorado House of Representatives with seven. 

As of Nov. 19, Ballotpedia has tracked 790 House bills in Democratic trifectas and 758 House bills in Republican trifectas. A trifecta is when one political party holds the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature. Ballotpedia has tracked 250 House bills in states where neither party holds trifecta control. 

The Texas House was scheduled to be in regular session from Jan. 10 to May 29 this year. In 2022, Ballotpedia tracked zero House bills related to election administration. Texas is a Republican trifecta.

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