For the next round of elections, voters might be able to cast their ballots with a cell phone in hand. Current state law prohibits voters from having their cell phones within 100 feet of the voting area, but the State House of Representatives on Monday heard and initially passed a bill that would allow voters to use their cell phones in polling stations, with certain limitations. The bill, authored by Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood), permits voters to “access information that was downloaded, recorded or created on the phone” before the voter enters his or her polling place.
Bonnen described the bill as allowing people to use their phone as they would on airplane mode — no surfing the web, making calls or texting, but voters would be able to access pre-made notes about candidates.
“The legislation doesn’t specify what the document can be,” Bonnen said. “It can be anything that you wish. The main issue is what the bill doesn’t allow, [which are] voice calls and text messaging.”
The bill is intended to allow people of all ages use to their phones as another way of preparing for election day, Bonnen said. “It’s easier for some people to have the information simply stored on their device as opposed to a printed-out paper document,” Bonnen said. “It’s just a matter of providing them that ease of use.”