Home / US / Texas Republican Says Downgrading Election Overturning Is Bad Policy Why are they trying?

Texas Republican Says Downgrading Election Overturning Is Bad Policy Why are they trying?



In an overhaul of Texas election laws, Republicans rushed to approval at the time of the deterioration of the legislative session. One provision that stood out to critics was particularly shocking.

The hastily added sentence would make it easy for judges to overturn the election. Although there is little evidence of fraud. With former President Donald Trump’s historic attempt to shed light on November’s losses that are still in their minds. Democrats therefore chose the measure as irresponsible.

“Think about it, your election. Your election may be reversed without the other party having to prove true voter fraud,” state Rep. Julie Johnson, D-Carrolton, said in a glowing speech on the floor of the Texas House. This is unthinkable. worse The provision is not in the bill of the Senate or the House.”

This bill did not pass. He died at midnight on May 31

after Democrats blocked the vote by walking away. But the policy debate raises a more fundamental question: Who adds? “overthrow the election” down?

R-Nagodoches, one of the members of the meeting committee that created the final bill, state representative Travis Clardy, R-Nagodoches, said he did not know. Other top Republicans working on the final bill said they didn’t know either.

Moreover, Clardy has condemned the measures related to the overthrow of the election and said Republicans do not plan to resurrect them in future bills.

“There is no appetite or will or willingness to create a low bar where a single judge can turn the outcome of an election,” Clardy said. said in an interview with the Hearst newspaper. “That would be a terrible policy. And it will not be good for democracy.”

Democrats say There was no way those provisions were accidentally inserted. They said they expressed their concerns with Republicans when they had free time to amend the bill.

Sections will reduce the standard of proof to subvert elections based on evidence that “Clear and credible” are “preponderance of evidence” and they allow judges to invalidate elections, though. It cannot be proven that fraudulent ballots make a difference in outcomes.

If the bill passed Texas is probably one of the few states that has dropped the bar so much. Open the door to potential electoral challenges. Election law expert says

“If we deliberately design a system that says all you have to do is think ahead, That is, the evidence is almost nonexistent over the other side. and we will cancel the election when we have all The extent of the electoral process in place where we reasonably expect to produce reliable results in the normal course. We are really undermining that,” said Steven Huefner, a law professor at Ohio State University.

‘They have time to review it’

The final version of Senate Bill 7 differed greatly from the previous iteration. Such changes are not uncommon at the Texas Capitol, where the Legislature meets every day. Two years for 140 days of policy making and political scoring. Sometimes the results are sloppy.

When the Texas Legislature A non-partisan agency with lawyers and researchers advises Lawmakers returning the bill, Clardy, said he was surprised by some of the new provisions, which he said were not amendments submitted by the lawmakers.

In addition to last-minute provisions on the abolition of elections. Another late addition said Sunday morning voting could not begin before 1 p.m. Democrats condemned the provision as an attempt to undermine it. The “electoral spirit” organized by the black church, Clardy later told NPR, was a typo.

“I don’t want to blame the lawyers for the Legislature for working on this matter,” Clardy said. That was not a wish at all.”

He added: “I don’t know what other attendees might have thought of the Lege Council; I’m just saying that as a lawyer and understand imports and differences in standards I never agree with superiority. and will insist and will insist on being clear and convincing.”

A spokesman for the Legislature declined to comment. By saying that the drafting of the law “Privilege and confidentiality”

State Rep. Nicole Collier, one of three Democrats on the convention committee and chairman of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, did not buy Republican claims that the language was accidentally added.

“They have time to review it,” Collier said. “The fact that the minutes of the meeting were signed on Saturday” – the day before it was reported to the council – “means they have read it and they approved it.”

public opinion center

During the final debate on the bill, Briscoe Cain, chairman of the House of Representatives Election Commission R-Deer Park, said some of the amendments he supported were mysteriously missing from the final, Cain said this week. that he knows as well as Clardy about the origin of the segment. “Overthrowing the Election” and nothing more.

Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, chairman of the Senate Conference committee declined to comment on the matter. But in a statement posted on Twitter on Thursday about SB 7, Hughes said the council had ordered a draft of the meeting committee. “So any error will not ‘come on’ from the Senate.

Elizabeth Alvarez-Bingham The lead attorney who consulted with the Republican House on the bill said she had never recommended reducing the burden of proof.

“The electoral contest is the role of the judiciary,” Alvarez-Bingham said. “They should be able to win elections only if you can take the maximum load possible. And that’s what it should be.”

The language in the bill that lowers accreditation standards is in an earlier version that the Senate approved in April. Although there was little discussion on the matter at the time, state Rep. Cole Hefner, R-Mount Pleasant, proposed changes in a separate bill that was withdrawn prior to committee consideration. He did not respond to requests for comment.

State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, who served with Clardy on the congressional committee that signed the final law, said he did not want to see proof standards drop and wanted judges to maintain their discretion.

Sections that allow judges to hold elections are void. No other charges filed in this session include language based searches of the Texas law database.

Alvarez-Bingham Noting that almost identical language exists in the Texas Election Code, it can now be found in a section that states that judges can force voters to disclose their votes during election contests.

in current law It will be used as an alternative when the number of illegal votes cannot be calculated. If there is no difference Critics were arguing. and especially in combination with lower standards. This provision could be interpreted as a judge’s ability to cancel an election without trying to determine whether the fraudulent votes were large enough to alter the outcome.

The public never had a chance to examine the new provisions that were put together, said Sen. Beverly Powell, D-Burleson, one of the Democrats on the convention committee.

“Like most SB7s, the provisions were made behind closed doors and rushed in the 11th hour with no input from minority voter advocacy groups and others,” Powell said in a statement. “I hope the minority voter advocacy groups local electoral officials And the public will have more words and opinions during a special meeting on the big voting law.”

The special meeting Clardy said it would give lawmakers a second chance to clean up the bill and include only the language they strongly believe.

“The evidence will be in the pudding on this matter,” he said, “when we fill out the electoral integrity bill. when we come back to make a special Whenever the governor dictates and calls us on that matter. These matters will be resolved.”

taylor.goldenstein@chron.com




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