As the fourth special session begins, the Tarrant County GOP is urging Governor Greg Abbott to add primary election legislation to the next call.
This measure was designed to give counties with a population of 1.2 million or less the ability to combine election precincts to serve up to 10,000 voters (increased from the regular limit of 5,000 voters).
According to the Tarrant County GOP, the bill was “widely understood as only intending to impact counties under 1.2 million in population.”
The report accompanying the bill from the House Research Organization stated specifically, “SB 924 would apply only to a county with a population of less than 1.2 million.”
However, in a letter to Abbott, Tarrant County GOP Chairman Bo French said, “The bill appears to have inadvertently struck a provision in the existing law that applied to all counties and allowed a political party conducting a primary election to combine election precincts to avoid unreasonable expenditures for election equipment, supplies, and personnel.”
French stated that SB 924 “appears to have inadvertently put the Tarrant County 2024 primary election in jeopardy.”
The result of this measure would require the county to set up approximately 400 election day polling locations.
“This apparently inadvertent change, if implemented, would impose unreasonable expenses for election equipment, supplies, and personnel, and may even make it impossible for Tarrant County and the Tarrant County Republican Party to successfully carry out a primary election in 2024,” wrote French.
The solution to this problem, according to French, is the immediate passage of another measure by Springer.
Senate Bill 76 was filed during the third special session—which ended November 7—and seeks to restore the “former law with regard to larger counties, like Tarrant County.”
“I filed SB 76 to correct the issue that was caused by an amendment added in the House, where the lawyers assured us this wouldn’t cause the problems it has,” Springer wrote on X. “We worked with the Secretary of State on SB76 to get the proper language. This is a problem for all counties that have county wide voting, not just Tarrant. As we will be coming back for a 4th Special Session I look forward to the opportunity to correct the issue.”
French urged Abbott to place SB 76 on the call “so that this problem can be solved.”
“The best solution requires your prompt action and leadership,” said French.
However, French concluded the letter by informing Abbott that if no legislative solution is provided, “Tarrant County and the Tarrant County Republican Party may be required to defy state statute or sue to overturn state statute in order to preserve the Party’s rights to freedom of association.”
The fourth special session began November 7 and expires December 6.
Texas Scorecard reached out to Abbott’s office for comment; however, as of publication, no response was received.