State Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) penned a letter this week urging the Texas Secretary of State Elections Division Office to rescind all waivers allowing counties and precincts to deviate from election law, arguing that doing so creates fertile ground for local corruption and election fraud.
“As public servants, we have an obligation and duty to ensure integrity and operational consistency for our elections,” stated Hall. “Taking shortcuts or establishing procedures to ‘make it easier on election officials or to save time’ at the sacrifice of vote integrity and record retention should be unacceptable to responsible government officials.”
There are multiple practices codified in statute to ensure election integrity that are currently ignored at the local level across Texas via special waivers from the Texas Secretary of State Elections Division Office. Of those practices, Hall cites both the printing and signing of Zero tapes when the polls open for early voting and Election Day, and the printing/signing of precinct returns (audit tapes/tally/results tapes) directly when the polls close at the polling location, both on early voting and Election Day.
“Texas election laws mandate a system of checks and balances that include paper and electronic tabulation when the polls open and close to prevent fraud and corruption of votes cast electronically,” Hall argues.
“Some of these counties print the tapes and some do not. Without the printed tapes there is no way to validate the computerized election results. These inconsistencies in election record retention are breeding ground for election fraud and is an unacceptable practice for anyone who believes in the rule of law.”
Currently, local officials can seek waivers from these practices, which are required by statute in the Texas Election Code. “These waivers are being provided by the Texas Secretary of State’s Election Division Office,” says Hall, who, in response to constituent concerns, called on the office to rescind these exceptions.
“Due to an increasing number of complaints, it is time for the Texas Elections Division Office to take immediate and decisive action to rescind all waivers issued by that office instructing the local election officials to violate election law and instruct all Texas counties using electronic voting systems to consistently adhere to all election laws.”
“Vote integrity is one of the sacred responsibilities of our government,” Hall states in closing. “Without integrity, we have no legitimate government.”