With the help of Republicans in 2021, vote harvesters in Texas won’t have to worry about supplying convincing signatures on mail-in ballot applications.

Last week, election administrators taking part in a call with the secretary of state’s office were reportedly told to disregard signature problems on mail-in ballot applications as they process them ahead of the 2022 primary.

Now, if an election administrator gets an application for a mail-in ballot, even if the signature doesn’t match one on file or is illegible, the application is accepted if either the social security number or driver’s license on the application matches DPS records.

Here’s the offending text from Senate Bill 1:

(d-1) If a voter provides the information required under Section 86.002(g) and it identifies the same voter identified on the voter’s application for voter registration under Section 13.002(c)(8), the signature on the ballot application and on the carrier envelope certificate shall be rebuttably presumed to be the signatures of the voter.

Driver license and social security numbers are purchasable or can be stolen, low-hanging fruit for would-be voter harvesters.

This is another flaw in the poorly conceived election integrity bill passed during the second special legislative session of 2021.

In a world where Republican lawmakers were serious about election integrity, Senate Bill 1 would have been well written, including both identification and signatures to match on mail-in ballot applications. Also, the bill would have passed during the regular session.

Instead, Republicans prioritized cutting backroom deals with Democrats, and Texas voters have a watered-down law exploitable by ballot harvesters to show for these efforts.

In addition to foolishly dropping signature matching on applications, SB 1, lauded by Republican lawmakers, is widely derided for gutting prosecution of voter fraud on a going-forward basis, another example of the ineptitude or corruption of leadership in Austin.

This is a commentary published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@texasscorecard.com.


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