The Texas House Committee on Elections has been working this session to improve Texas laws dealing with voter fraud and ballot integrity. However, unlike most of the bills the Republican-majority committee has advanced, last Monday the members of the committee coalesced around a bill that will empower Democrat voter fraud schemes.

House Bill 1459 received the votes of two Republicans, the committee’s chairman, State Rep. Stephanie Klick (R–Fort Worth), and State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock). Burrows also serves as chairman of the House GOP caucus. The pair joined the committee’s four Democrats to outnumber three conservative members and report the bill favorably for the consideration of the full body.

Authored by Democrat State Rep. Jessica Gonzalez of Dallas, a hotbed of voter fraud in recent years, the bill would mandate a fifty-fifty bipartisan split of ballot boards. Ballot boards are the small groups of officials who are appointed to review ballots that come into question. These include ballots by mail, which have been described by experts and watchdogs as “the wild West of voter fraud.”

The bill promotes corruption in Texas elections by requiring that ballots which are the subject of a 50-50 tie vote must be counted. This means that even if every Republican member of the ballot board believes a mail-in ballot is obviously harvested or otherwise illegal, it would nonetheless be counted in the election results unless the Democrat members agree to exclude it.

As Texas Scorecard has previously reported, Jonathan White, an assistant attorney general with the Criminal Prosecutions division of the Texas Attorney General’s office, testified that mail ballot fraud “is by far the biggest problem that we see across the state” before a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Election Security last year.

Republican State Reps. Briscoe Cain (Deer Park), Mayes Middleton (Wallisville), and Valoree Swanson (Spring) voted against advancing the bill. Democrat State Reps. John Bucy (Austin), Phillip Cortez (San Antonio), Art Fierro (El Paso), and Celia Israel (Austin) all supported the bill.

The bill will now go to the Calendars Committee to be scheduled for a vote on the House floor. Especially in light of having received the support of the Texas House Elections Committee chairman and the Texas House GOP Caucus chairman, the bill could very well pass the House and move on to the Texas Senate.

Destin Sensky

Destin Sensky serves as a Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard covering the Texas Legislature, working to bring Texans the honest and accurate coverage they need to hold their elected officials in Austin accountable.