A bill proposing to allow voters who moved to a new county within the month before an election to vote at their old precinct received a lukewarm reception in the House Elections Committee Monday evening. Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, introduced House Bill 3081 to close a loophole that blocks people from voting on election day if they moved to a new county shortly before the election and didn’t have time, or make the effort, to register in their new county.
Wu and supporters argued that particularly in cities with multiple counties, like Houston and Dallas, people can be properly registered to vote, unknowingly move to a new county and be surprised to learn on election day they can’t vote, many of whom are highly-mobile college students. Some also shared stories of apartment complexes that straddled county lines and people who were thrown into this situation after simply moving across the parking lot.
Many people confronted with the conundrum simply return to their old precinct and lie about moving so they can vote, Wu and others noted.
“This is for people who are being very honest about their situation,” Wu said.
Existing law allows voters in that situation to vote on a limited ballot in their new county during early voting, but does not include election day.