The Senate State Affairs Committee unanimously approved a bill Sunday that would set up safeguards to prevent mail-in ballot fraud in Texas and increase penalties for people who try to steal others’ votes. Senate Bill 5 by Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, would require a signature verification process for early ballots, notification of rejected ones and a process for correcting errors. Punishment for committing mail-in voter fraud could reach $4,000 and up to a year in jail. Hancock said his bill would protect the most vulnerable voters: seniors and people with disabilities.
Most of those testifying Sunday endorsed the bill, including Republican Nueces County Clerk Kara Sands, who told the American-Statesman that her office has found numerous signatures in mail-in ballot applications that don’t match voters’ actual ballot signatures. She’s also heard from voters who say they were offered voting assistance but pushed to vote a certain way.
“They’re intimidating the voters, ” she said. “And they are disenfranchising them and stealing their vote.”
Detractors of the bill said some proposed penalties are too harsh. Under the bill, a person could face up to 10 years in prison if found to be in possession of an official ballot or official carrier envelope belonging to another voter.
Full Article: Texas Senate panel approves anti-voter fraud bill.