A group of Harris County officials have succeeded in scuttling a bipartisan bill that would have made Texas the 27th state to let citizens register to vote online. The proposal was co-sponsored by a majority of the House, but stalled in the chamber’s Elections Committee after the Harris County Clerk and the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector’s offices rallied opposition, arguing it would make Texas more vulnerable to voter fraud, even with the state’s controversial voter ID law. Rep. Celia Israel, who sponsored the measure as a way to boost voter turnout and save the state millions of dollars, pronounced it dead Friday afternoon. “Texas wants this. The majority of the people on this floor want this,” said Israel, D-Austin, gesturing to her colleagues. “But I can’t get it out of committee because of some partisan election officers from Harris County.”
Israel’s bill would let voters with a valid Texas driver’s license or state-issued identification to enter their registration information on a secure website, which would match the data to the identification.
She said the Harris County officials were trying to keep Texas at the bottom of the United States in voter turnout for political reasons.
Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan, a Republican whose job includes being the county voter registrar, denied that politics played any role in his position. He also denied that officials had organized a unified effort to derail the bill.