Bill Text: TX HB325 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to early voting by mail by any qualified voter.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-02-19 - Referred to Elections [HB325 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-HB325-Introduced.html
  86R803 GRM-D
 
  By: Ortega H.B. No. 325
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to early voting by mail by any qualified voter.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 13.002(e), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (e)  Notwithstanding Section 82.005, a [A] person who is
  certified for participation in the address confidentiality program
  administered by the attorney general under Subchapter C, Chapter
  56, Code of Criminal Procedure, is not eligible for early voting by
  mail [under Section 82.007] unless the person submits an
  application under this section by personal delivery.  The secretary
  of state may adopt rules to implement this subsection.
         SECTION 2.  Section 82.005, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 82.005.  ELIGIBILITY FOR EARLY VOTING [BY PERSONAL
  APPEARANCE]. Any qualified voter is eligible for early voting by
  mail or personal appearance.
         SECTION 3.  Section 82.007, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 82.007.  PARTICIPATION IN ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY
  PROGRAM. Notwithstanding Section 82.005, a [A] qualified voter
  who, [is eligible for early voting by mail if:
               [(1)     the voter submitted a registration application by
  personal delivery as required by Section 13.002(e); and
               [(2)]  at the time the voter's early voting ballot
  application is submitted, [the voter] is certified for
  participation in the address confidentiality program administered
  by the attorney general under Subchapter C, Chapter 56, Code of
  Criminal Procedure, is eligible for early voting by mail only if the
  voter submitted a registration application by personal delivery as
  required by Section 13.002(e).
         SECTION 4.  Section 84.001(a), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  To be entitled to vote an early voting ballot by mail, a
  person [who is eligible for early voting] must make an application
  for an early voting ballot to be voted by mail as provided by this
  title.
         SECTION 5.  Section 84.002(a), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  An early voting ballot application must include:
               (1)  the applicant's name and the address at which the
  applicant is registered to vote;
               (2)  for an application for a ballot to be voted by mail
  by an applicant who will be absent from the applicant's [on the
  ground of absence from the] county of residence on election day, the
  address outside the applicant's county of residence to which the
  ballot is to be mailed;
               (3)  for an application for a ballot to be voted by mail
  by an applicant who is 65 years of age or older on election day or
  has a sickness or physical condition that requires the applicant to
  reside in a hospital or nursing home or other long-term care
  facility, or with a relative [on the ground of age or disability],
  the address of the hospital, nursing home or other long-term care
  facility, or retirement center, or of a person related to the
  applicant within the second degree by affinity or the third degree
  by consanguinity, as determined under Chapter 573, Government Code,
  if the applicant is living at that address and that address is
  different from the address at which the applicant is registered to
  vote;
               (4)  for an application for a ballot to be voted by mail
  by an applicant who is confined [on the ground of confinement] in
  jail as described by Section 84.009(a), the address of the jail or
  of a person related to the applicant within the degree described by
  Subdivision (3); and
               (5)  [for an application for a ballot to be voted by
  mail on any ground,] an indication of each election for which the
  applicant is applying for a ballot[; and
               [(6)     an indication of the ground of eligibility for
  early voting].
         SECTION 6.  Section 84.009, Election Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (b) to read as
  follows:
         (a)  This section applies only to an applicant who, at the
  time the application for a ballot to be voted by mail is submitted,
  is confined in jail:
               (1)  serving a misdemeanor sentence for a term that
  ends on or after election day;
               (2)  pending trial after denial of bail;
               (3)  without bail pending an appeal of a felony
  conviction; or
               (4)  pending trial or appeal on a bailable offense for
  which release on bail before election day is unlikely.
         (b)  On request of the applicant, an application for a ballot
  to be voted by mail [on the ground of confinement in jail] may be
  submitted to the early voting clerk, at the discretion of the
  authority in charge of the jail, by personal delivery by the jail
  authority or by a designated subordinate of the authority.
         SECTION 7.  Section 84.011(a), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  The officially prescribed application form for an early
  voting ballot must include:
               (1)  immediately preceding the signature space the
  statement: "I certify that the information given in this
  application is true, and I understand that giving false information
  in this application is a crime.";
               (2)  a statement informing the applicant of the
  offenses prescribed by Sections 84.003 and 84.004;
               (3)  spaces for entering an applicant's voter
  registration number and county election precinct of registration,
  with a statement informing the applicant that failure to furnish
  that information does not invalidate the application; and
               (4)  on an application for a ballot to be voted by mail:
                     (A)  a space for an applicant [applying on the
  ground of absence from the county of residence] to indicate whether
  the applicant will be absent from the applicant's county of
  residence on election day and, if applicable, the date on or after
  which the applicant can receive mail at the address outside the
  county;
                     (B)  a space for indicating the fact that an
  applicant whose application is signed by a witness cannot make the
  applicant's mark and a space for indicating the relationship or
  lack of relationship of the witness to the applicant;
                     (C)  a space for entering an applicant's telephone
  number, with a statement informing the applicant that failure to
  furnish that information does not invalidate the application;
                     (D)  a space or box for an applicant who is 65
  years of age or older on election day or has a sickness or physical
  condition that requires the applicant to reside in a hospital or
  nursing home or other long-term care facility, or with a relative,
  [applying on the ground of age or disability] to indicate that the
  address to which the ballot is to be mailed is the address of a
  facility or relative described by Section 84.002(a)(3), if
  applicable;
                     (E)  a space or box for an applicant confined
  [applying on the ground of confinement] in jail as described by
  Section 84.009(a) to indicate that the address to which the ballot
  is to be mailed is the address of a relative described by Section
  84.002(a)(4), if applicable;
                     (F)  a space for an applicant applying on the
  ground of age or disability to indicate if the application is an
  application under Section 86.0015;
                     (G)  spaces for entering the signature, printed
  name, and residence address of any person assisting the applicant;
                     (H)  a statement informing the applicant of the
  condition prescribed by Section 81.005; and
                     (I)  a statement informing the applicant of the
  requirement prescribed by Section 86.003(c).
         SECTION 8.  Sections 86.001(b) and (c), Election Code, are
  amended to read as follows:
         (b)  If the application complies with the applicable
  requirements prescribed by this title [applicant is entitled to
  vote an early voting ballot by mail], the clerk shall provide an
  official ballot to the applicant as provided by this chapter.
         (c)  Except as provided by Section 86.008, if the applicant
  is not entitled to vote in the election [by mail], the clerk shall
  reject the application, enter on the application "rejected" and the
  reason for and date of rejection, and deliver written notice of the
  reason for the rejection to the applicant at both the residence
  address and mailing address on the application. A ballot may not be
  provided to an applicant whose application is rejected.
         SECTION 9.  Section 86.003(c), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (c)  The address to which the balloting materials must be
  addressed is the address at which the voter is registered to vote,
  or the registered mailing address if different, unless the
  application to vote early by mail indicates that the voter [ground
  for voting by mail is]:
               (1)  will be absent from the voter's [absence from the]
  county of residence on election day, in which case the address must
  be an address outside the voter's county of residence;
               (2)  is confined [confinement] in jail as described by
  Section 84.009(a), in which case the address must be the address of
  the jail or of a relative described by Section 84.002(a)(4); or
               (3)  is 65 years of age or older on election day or has a
  sickness or physical condition that requires the applicant to
  reside in a hospital or nursing home or other long-term care
  facility, or with a relative, [age or disability] and [the voter] is
  living at a hospital, nursing home or other long-term care
  facility, or retirement center, or with a relative described by
  Section 84.002(a)(3), in which case the address must be the address
  of that facility or relative.
         SECTION 10.  Section 86.004(b), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (b)  For an election to which Section 101.104 applies, the
  balloting materials for a voter who indicates on the application
  for a ballot to be voted by mail or the federal postcard application
  that the voter seeks [is eligible] to vote early by mail as a
  consequence of the voter's being outside the United States shall be
  mailed on or before the later of the 45th day before election day or
  the seventh calendar day after the date the clerk receives the
  application.  However, if it is not possible to mail the ballots by
  the deadline of the 45th day before election day, the clerk shall
  notify the secretary of state within 24 hours of knowing that the
  deadline will not be met.  The secretary of state shall monitor the
  situation and advise the clerk, who shall mail the ballots as soon
  as possible in accordance with the secretary of state's guidelines.
         SECTION 11.  Section 87.041(b), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (b)  A ballot may be accepted only if:
               (1)  the carrier envelope certificate is properly
  executed;
               (2)  neither the voter's signature on the ballot
  application nor the signature on the carrier envelope certificate
  is determined to have been executed by a person other than the
  voter, unless signed by a witness;
               (3)  [the voter's ballot application states a legal
  ground for early voting by mail;
               [(4)]  the voter is registered to vote, if registration
  is required by law;
               (4) [(5)     the address to which the ballot was mailed to
  the voter, as indicated by the application, was outside the voter's
  county of residence, if the ground for early voting is absence from
  the county of residence;
               [(6)]  for a voter to whom a statement of residence form
  was required to be sent under Section 86.002(a), the statement of
  residence is returned in the carrier envelope and indicates that
  the voter satisfies the residence requirements prescribed by
  Section 63.0011; and
               (5) [(7)]  the address to which the ballot was mailed
  to the voter is an address [that is otherwise] required by Sections
  84.002 and 86.003.
         SECTION 12.  Section 102.001(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  A qualified voter is eligible to vote a late ballot as
  provided by this chapter if the voter has a sickness or physical
  condition [described by Section 82.002] that prevents the voter
  from appearing at the polling place on election day without a
  likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring the
  voter's health and originates on or after the day before the last
  day for submitting an application for a ballot to be voted by mail.
         SECTION 13.  Sections 82.001, 82.002, 82.003, 82.004,
  84.002(b), and 112.002(b), Election Code, are repealed.
         SECTION 14.  The changes in law made by this Act apply only
  to an election ordered on or after September 1, 2019.
         SECTION 15.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
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