In a move that has ignited a firestorm of controversy, Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed a measure aimed at expanding the voting rights of disabled Texans. The measure’s vague wording would have put the election system at more risk of malfeasance.

The veto of House Bill 3159 was seen as a victory by election integrity advocates.

Authored by State Reps. Jeff Leach (R–Plano) and John Bucy III (D–Austin), HB 3159 sought to provide “certain voters” access to an electronic absentee ballot.

However, Abbott expressed concerns about the vague language of the bill.

Abbott’s veto drew heavy criticism from supporters of the legislation—especially Bucy. “I think the governor got it wrong,” Bucy wrote on Twitter. “Not just on the interpretation of the bill but also just got it wrong on the opportunity to pass some really forward-thinking policy.”

In the official veto proclamation, Abbott said HB 3159 vaguely detailed who was qualified to apply for electronic ballots and therefore was susceptible to unintended consequences.

“According to the author, House Bill No. 3159 is intended to ‘benefit blind, visually impaired Texans, people with dyslexia, or persons with limited dexterity,“ Abbott wrote. “The text of this bill is not limited to assisting this group. [HB 3159] allows any voter who qualifies to vote by mail to receive a ballot electronically.”

Needless to say, advocates for election integrity view Abbott’s veto of HB 3159 as yet another win. The 88th Legislative Session witnessed some wins for election integrity, but more work remains.

The debate surrounding election security continues to intensify ahead of the 2024 election cycle.

Matthew DeLaCruz

Matthew DeLaCruz is a Cedar Park native and is a sophomore journalism and mass communications major at Abilene Christian University. Matthew is a summer writing fellow at Texas Scorecard and loves bringing relevant stories to citizens. When he is not writing, you can catch Matthew lifting weights, playing basketball and eating ice cream with his friends.