By Luis Miguel
Texas this week joined a host of red states that have passed or are in the process of passing reforms aimed at securing their elections against the type of voter fraud that many believe threw the presidency and the Senate into Democrats’ column in 2020.
On Tuesday, the Texas legislature approved a bill formulated during a special session called by Republican Governor Greg Abbott. The governor is expected to sign the legislation once it reaches his desk.
The omnibus voting bill would end a number of the voting practices enacted amid the coronavirus outbreak, such as drive-thru voting and round-the-clock voting.
The legislation would also require counties with populations over 55,000 to hold at least 12 hours of early voting for a second week before Election Day, an extension of early voting intended to help voters in rural counties.
Under the new bill, election officials would be prohibited from sending unsolicited applications to request mail-in ballots. If election officials disobey, they could face jail time.
Additionally, voters who apply for an absentee ballot would have to provide a driver’s license or the last four digits of their Social Security Number, which would be on top of the existing signature-matching safeguard.
Poll watchers from both parties would be allowed access to everywhere in the polling place except where voters actually complete their ballots.
In another provision, anyone who offers assistance to fill out a ballot will be required to fill out paperwork identifying themselves and their relationship to the individual they are assisting.
The bill was approved after being temporarily delayed when Democrats fled the state in order to prevent a quorum in the legislature. Governor Abbott threatened to use his legal power to order the arrest of lawmakers shirking their responsibilities, a power the Texas Supreme Court upheld.
“There’s a lot of national attention on election reform now, and that’s great,” State Senator Bryan Hughes (R), a prime sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, told The Hill in an interview earlier this year. The measure “is part of an ongoing Texas process where we try to make the law better, we try to improve the process.”
In states such as Georgia, Arizona, and Florida, Republicans have already passed measures to reduce the likelihood of fraud with policies that Democrats claim make voting more restrictive.
In Arizona, which has recently been in the spotlight due to the ongoing election audit, two new provisions include the limiting of organizations’ ability to collect mail-in ballots, along with the invalidation of ballots cast in the wrong precinct.
Georgia, one of the battlegrounds of alleged voter fraud, passed an overhauling elections bill, but as The New American has previously reported, many of the provisions it contains actually further enable the type of fraud that occurred in 2020 rather than curtailing it.
For example, the Georgia Bill expands early voting instead of eliminating it, legitimizes the use of ballot drop boxes, restricts citizens’ ability to monitor the counting process (including by bringing any type of picture-taking device into the voting place), and sneaks in the practice of rank-choice voting.
The John Birch Society has published a list of pro-election integrity solutions.
States such as Florida that have tightened up their voting processes have nevertheless failed to end the use of Dominion and Smartmatic machines in many of their precincts, leaving the door open for future tampering.
Inventor Jovan Hutton Pulitzer told members of Georgia’s state senate in December that he successfully hacked into Dominion voting systems being used at Fulton County voting stations, confirming that the machines are connected to the Internet and that they engage in two-way communication.
On Friday, Arizona Republican Representative Mark Finchem wrote in an e-mail to The New American, “The key to audits is accuracy not speed. As a result of the attorney general’s action, more information is coming out which should have been released months ago. It is possible that could delay the report.”
The legislator’s comments came one day after Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (MCBOS) had violated state law by refusing to comply with legislative subpoenas concerning the 2020 election audit. Brnovich has threatened to withhold “state-shared” funds from the county should it “not change course.”
Ultimately, election reform must go hand-in-hand with audits and justice for any 2020 lawbreakers in order to prevent fraud from occurring again.