Bill Text: TX HB377 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to requiring a voter to be affiliated with a political party to vote in that party's primary election or otherwise participate in that party's affairs; creating a criminal offense.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 3-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-04-29 - Left pending in committee [HB377 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-HB377-Introduced.html
  86R4339 ADM-D
 
  By: Lang H.B. No. 377
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to requiring a voter to be affiliated with a political
  party to vote in that party's primary election or otherwise
  participate in that party's affairs; creating a criminal offense.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 13.002(c), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (c)  A registration application must include:
               (1)  the applicant's first name, middle name, if any,
  last name, and former name, if any;
               (2)  the month, day, and year of the applicant's birth;
               (3)  a statement that the applicant is a United States
  citizen;
               (4)  a statement that the applicant is a resident of the
  county;
               (5)  a statement that the applicant has not been
  determined by a final judgment of a court exercising probate
  jurisdiction to be:
                     (A)  totally mentally incapacitated; or
                     (B)  partially mentally incapacitated without the
  right to vote;
               (6)  a statement that the applicant has not been
  finally convicted of a felony or that the applicant is a felon
  eligible for registration under Section 13.001;
               (7)  the applicant's residence address or, if the
  residence has no address, the address at which the applicant
  receives mail and a concise description of the location of the
  applicant's residence;
               (8)  the following information:
                     (A)  the applicant's Texas driver's license number
  or the number of a personal identification card issued by the
  Department of Public Safety;
                     (B)  if the applicant has not been issued a number
  described by Paragraph (A), the last four digits of the applicant's
  social security number; or
                     (C)  a statement by the applicant that the
  applicant has not been issued a number described by Paragraph (A) or
  (B);
               (9)  if the application is made by an agent, a statement
  of the agent's relationship to the applicant; [and]
               (10)  the city and county in which the applicant
  formerly resided; and
               (11)  the applicant's political party affiliation, if
  any.
         SECTION 2.  Section 13.122(a), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  In addition to the other statements and spaces for
  entering information that appear on an officially prescribed
  registration application form, each official form must include:
               (1)  the statement: "I understand that giving false
  information to procure a voter registration is perjury and a crime
  under state and federal law.";
               (2)  a space for the applicant's registration number;
               (3)  a space for the applicant's Texas driver's license
  number or number of a personal identification card issued by the
  Department of Public Safety;
               (4)  a space for the applicant's telephone number;
               (5)  a space for the applicant's social security
  number;
               (6)  a space for the applicant's sex;
               (7)  a statement indicating that the furnishing of the
  applicant's telephone number and sex is optional;
               (8)  a space or box for indicating whether the
  applicant or voter is submitting new registration information or a
  change in current registration information;
               (9)  a statement instructing a voter who is using the
  form to make a change in current registration information to enter
  the voter's name and the changed information in the appropriate
  spaces on the form;
               (10)  a statement that if the applicant declines to
  register to vote, that fact will remain confidential and will be
  used only for voter registration purposes;
               (11)  a statement that if the applicant does register
  to vote, information regarding the agency or office to which the
  application is submitted will remain confidential and will be used
  only for voter registration purposes;
               (12)  a space or box for indicating whether the
  applicant is interested in working as an election judge;
               (13)  a statement warning that a conviction for making
  a false statement may result in imprisonment for up to the maximum
  amount of time provided by law, a fine of up to the maximum amount
  provided by law, or both the imprisonment and the fine; [and]
               (14)  a space for the applicant's political party
  affiliation; and
               (15)  any other voter registration information
  required by federal law or considered appropriate and required by
  the secretary of state.
         SECTION 3.  Section 14.001, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subsections (e) and (f) to read as follows:
         (e)  Notwithstanding Subsection (a), the registrar may not
  issue a renewal certificate to a voter before December 31, 2019,
  unless the voter's political party affiliation, if any, appears on
  the list described by Section 18.005(a). The registrar must issue a
  renewal certificate to each voter entitled to a renewal certificate
  under this section not later than January 20, 2020. This subsection
  expires January 31, 2020.
         (f)  A renewal certificate issued in January 2020 is
  considered to have been issued in the prior year for purposes of
  Subsection (c). This subsection expires December 31, 2021.
         SECTION 4.  Section 15.001(a), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  Each voter registration certificate issued must
  contain:
               (1)  the voter's name in the form indicated by the
  voter, subject to applicable requirements prescribed by Section
  13.002 and by rule of the secretary of state;
               (2)  the voter's residence address or, if the residence
  has no address, the address at which the voter receives mail and a
  concise description of the location of the voter's residence;
               (3)  the month, day, and year of the voter's birth;
               (4)  the number of the county election precinct in
  which the voter resides;
               (5)  the voter's effective date of registration if an
  initial certificate;
               (6)  the voter's registration number;
               (7)  an indication of the period for which the
  certificate is issued;
               (8)  a statement explaining the circumstances under
  which the voter will receive a new certificate;
               (9)  a space for indicating [stamping] the voter's
  political party affiliation;
               (10)  a statement that voting with the certificate by a
  person other than the person in whose name the certificate is issued
  is a felony;
               (11)  a space for the voter's signature;
               (12)  a statement that the voter must sign the
  certificate personally, if able to sign, immediately on receipt;
               (13)  a space for the voter to correct the information
  on the certificate followed by a signature line;
               (14)  the statement: "If any information on this
  certificate changes or is incorrect, correct the information in the
  space provided, sign below, and return this certificate to the
  voter registrar.";
               (15)  the registrar's mailing address and telephone
  number; and
               (16)  the jurisdictional or distinguishing number for
  the following territorial units in which the voter resides, as
  determined by the voter registrar:
                     (A)  congressional district;
                     (B)  state senatorial district;
                     (C)  state representative district;
                     (D)  commissioners precinct;
                     (E)  justice precinct;
                     (F)  city election precinct; and
                     (G)  school district election precinct.
         SECTION 5.  Section 15.025(a), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  Except as provided by Subsections (b) and (d) and
  Section 162.003(e), the registration of a voter described by this
  subsection whose information is changed on the registration records
  becomes effective as to the change on the 30th day after:
               (1)  the date the voter submits to the registrar a
  notice of a change in registration information under Section 15.021
  or a response under Section 15.053, indicating the change; or
               (2)  the date the voter submits a statement of
  residence to an election officer under Section 63.0011 or a
  registration application or change of address to an agency employee
  under Chapter 20, indicating the change.
         SECTION 6.  Section 18.005(a), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  Each original and supplemental list of registered
  voters must:
               (1)  contain the voter's name, date of birth, and
  registration number as provided by the statewide computerized voter
  registration list;
               (2)  contain the voter's residence address, except as
  provided by Subsections (b) and (c) or Section 18.0051;
               (3)  be arranged alphabetically by voter name; [and]
               (4)  contain the notation required by Section 15.111;
  and
               (5)  contain the political party affiliation of each
  voter, if any.
         SECTION 7.  Section 63.011(a), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  A person to whom Section 63.001(g), [or] 63.009, or
  172.1115(c) applies may cast a provisional ballot if the person
  executes an affidavit stating that the person:
               (1)  is a registered voter in the precinct in which the
  person seeks to vote; and
               (2)  is eligible to vote in the election.
         SECTION 8.  Section 112.002, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (g) to read as follows:
         (g)  If the voter seeks a limited ballot for a party primary
  election, the voter must indicate the political party the voter was
  affiliated with at the address where the voter was previously
  registered on the statement executed under Subsection (c). If the
  early voting clerk can establish the voter's affiliation from the
  previous registration, the voter is entitled to vote a limited
  ballot in that party's primary.
         SECTION 9.  Section 142.004(a), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  To be entitled to a place on the general election
  ballot, a candidate must:
               (1)  make an application for a place on the ballot; and
               (2)  not be affiliated with a political party at the
  time the application is made.
         SECTION 10.  Section 142.008, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 142.008.  STATEMENT ON PETITION. The following
  statement must appear at the top of each page of a candidate's
  petition: "I know the purpose of this petition. I am not
  affiliated with a political party that holds a primary election
  [have not voted in the general primary election or runoff primary
  election of any political party that has nominated, at either
  election, a candidate for the office of (insert office title) for
  which (insert candidate's name) is a candidate]."
         SECTION 11.  Section 142.009, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 142.009.  PETITION TO BE CIRCULATED AFTER PRIMARY. A
  signature on a candidate's petition is invalid if the signer:
               (1)  signed the petition on or before general primary
  election day or, if a runoff primary is held for the office sought
  by the candidate, on or before runoff primary election day; or
               (2)  is affiliated with a political party that holds a
  primary election [voted in the general or runoff primary election
  of a political party that made a nomination, at either primary, for
  the office sought by the candidate].
         SECTION 12.  Section 161.005(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  To be eligible to be a candidate for or to serve as a
  county or precinct chair of a political party, a person must:
               (1)  be a qualified voter of the county and affiliated
  with that political party; and
               (2)  except as provided by Subsection (c), not be a
  candidate for nomination or election to, or be the holder of, an
  elective office of the federal, state, or county government.
         SECTION 13.  Section 162.001(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  A person must be affiliated with a political party to be
  eligible:
               (1)  to serve as a delegate to or otherwise participate
  in a convention held by the party under this code;
               (2)  to be elected as a member of or be appointed to
  fill a vacancy on a state executive committee;
               (3)  to be appointed to fill a vacancy on a county
  executive committee;
               (4)  to vote in the party's primary election;
               (5)  to be a candidate in the party's primary election;
               (6)  to be the party's nominee for an office elected at
  the general election for state and county officers;
               (7)  to be a presidential elector for the political
  party; or
               (8) [(4)]  for any other purpose within the party as
  adopted by state party rules.
         SECTION 14.  Section 162.003, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 162.003.  AFFILIATION PROCEDURE [BY VOTING IN
  PRIMARY]. (a) A person becomes affiliated with a political party
  by notifying the registrar of the person's affiliation [when the
  person:
               [(1)     is accepted to vote in the party's primary
  election; or
               [(2)     applies for and is provided an early voting or
  limited primary ballot to be voted by mail].
         (b)  At the time a person registers to vote the person may:
               (1)  affiliate with a political party that holds a
  primary election or a political party that makes its nominations by
  convention regardless of whether the party has a state
  organization; or
               (2)  indicate no affiliation with any political party.
         (c)  Affiliation under Subsection (b)(1) takes effect on the
  first anniversary of the date the person submits a registration
  application to the registrar.
         (d)  A registered voter who does not indicate an affiliation
  with a political party of this state shall be listed as
  "independent" on the voter's registration certificate and on the
  list of registered voters.
         (e)  A registered voter may change the voter's affiliation
  status by notifying the registrar as provided by Section 15.021.
  The change becomes effective on the first anniversary of the date
  the voter submits notice of the change to the registrar under
  Section 15.021.
         (f)  A person may also indicate a party affiliation at the
  time the person submits a federal postcard application under
  Chapter 101. The affiliation takes effect at the time provided for
  a change under Subsection (e).
         (g)  The secretary of state shall prescribe any additional
  procedures necessary to implement this section.
         (h)  Notwithstanding Subsection (c), if a person is 18 years
  of age or younger at the time the person registers to vote,
  affiliation under Subsection (b)(1) takes effect on the first
  election at which the person is eligible to vote following the
  submission of the registration application.
         (i)  Notwithstanding Subsections (c) and (e), if a person
  notifies the registrar of the person's affiliation not later than
  December 31, 2019, the affiliation takes effect on the first
  election at which the person is eligible to vote following the
  submission of the registration application or change, as
  applicable. This subsection expires December 31, 2020.
         SECTION 15.  Section 162.010(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  A [Except as provided by Subsection (b), a] party
  affiliation expires on cancellation of a voter's registration or at
  the time a change in affiliation takes effect under Section 162.003 
  [at the end of the voting year in which the person became
  affiliated].
         SECTION 16.  Section 162.013, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 162.013.  VOID VOTE. A vote in a primary election is
  void if the voter is not affiliated with the political party holding
  the primary [previously voted in a primary election of another
  party or participated in a convention of another party during the
  same voting year].
         SECTION 17.  Sections 162.014(a), (c), and (d), Election
  Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  A person commits an offense if the person knowingly
  votes or attempts to vote in a primary election or participates or
  attempts to participate in a convention of a party without being
  affiliated with that party [after having voted in a primary
  election or participated in a convention of another party during
  the same voting year].
         (c)  An offense under this section is a felony of the second
  degree if the conduct constituting an offense under Subsection (a)
  consists of knowingly voting in a primary election without being
  affiliated with that party [after having voted in a primary
  election of another party during the same voting year].
         (d)  An offense under this section is a state jail felony if
  the conduct constituting an offense under Subsection (a) consists
  of knowingly attempting to vote in a primary election without being
  affiliated with that party [after having voted in a primary
  election of another party during the same voting year].
         SECTION 18.  Section 162.017(e), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (e)  The preregistration process must [include the statement
  described by Section 162.004(a) and] require a preregistering
  attendee to be affiliated [affiliate] with the party [by taking the
  oath described in Section 162.007(b)].
         SECTION 19.  Section 172.021, Election Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (b) and adding Subsections (b-3) and (h) to
  read as follows:
         (b)  In [An application must, in] addition to complying with
  Section 141.031, an application must:
               (1)  indicate that, at the time of the application, the
  applicant is affiliated with the political party whose nomination
  for office the candidate seeks; and
               (2)  be accompanied by the appropriate filing fee or a
  petition in lieu of the filing fee that satisfies the requirements
  prescribed by Section 141.062. [A political party may not require
  payment of a fee as a condition to applying for a place on the ballot
  as a candidate for county chair or precinct chair.]
         (b-3)  A political party may not require payment of a fee
  under this section as a condition to applying for a place on the
  ballot as a candidate for county chair or precinct chair.
         (h)  A signature on a petition under this section is not
  valid if at the time of signing the signer is affiliated with a
  political party other than the party whose nomination for office
  the candidate seeks. A signature on a petition under this section
  is valid if at the time of signing the signer is unaffiliated with a
  political party.
         SECTION 20.  Section 172.026, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 172.026.  RESTRICTION ON PETITION SIGNER. On signing a
  petition to be filed under Section 172.021, the signer becomes
  ineligible to affiliate with [vote in a primary election or
  participate in a convention of] another political party during the
  voting year in which the primary election is held.
         SECTION 21.  Section 172.027, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 172.027.  STATEMENT ON PETITION. The following
  statement must appear at the top of each page of a petition to be
  filed under Section 172.021: "I know that the purpose of this
  petition is to entitle (insert candidate's name) to have his or her
  name placed on the ballot for the office of (insert office title,
  including any place number or other distinguishing number) for the
  (insert political party's name) primary election. I understand
  that by signing this petition I become ineligible to affiliate with
  another political party or to vote [in a primary election] or
  participate in a primary election or convention of another party,
  including a party not holding a primary election, during the voting
  year in which this primary election is held."
         SECTION 22.  Section 172.086, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 172.086.  PLEDGE ON BALLOT. The following pledge shall
  be placed on the primary election ballot above the listing of
  candidates' names: "I am a (insert appropriate political party)
  and understand that I am ineligible to affiliate with another
  political party or to vote or participate in another political
  party's primary election or convention during this voting year."
         SECTION 23.  Section 172.088(c), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (c)  A petition signer may not at the time of signing be
  affiliated with another political party. A political party by rule
  may provide for permitting voters who are not affiliated with any
  political party to be eligible to sign a petition under this section 
  [restricting petition signers on the basis of party alignment or
  preference].
         SECTION 24.  Subchapter E, Chapter 172, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 172.1115 to read as follows:
         Sec. 172.1115.  AFFILIATION WITH PARTY REQUIRED. (a) The
  signature roster for a primary election must state at the top of
  each page: "A person commits a criminal offense if the person
  knowingly votes in a primary election or participates in a
  convention of a party without being affiliated with that party."
         (b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), a person may not
  be accepted for voting in a primary election of a political party
  unless:
               (1)  the list of registered voters indicates that the
  person is affiliated with that political party; or
               (2)  the voter's registration certificate indicates
  that the voter is affiliated with that political party.
         (c)  A person who seeks to vote in a primary election but
  cannot establish the person's party affiliation under Subsection
  (b) may be accepted only for provisional voting under Section
  63.011.
         SECTION 25.  Section 172.126(g), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (g)  A separate set of ballot boxes or other suitable
  containers approved by the secretary of state shall be used for each
  party's primary, except that one set of ballot boxes or other
  containers may be used in a joint primary using an electronic voting
  system in which the ballots are deposited by the voters directly
  into a unit of automatic tabulating equipment. [The lists of
  registered voters and the voters' registration certificates shall
  be marked and stamped to show the appropriate party affiliation for
  each voter.] A separate list of registered voters shall be used for
  each party's primary. The secretary of state by rule shall
  prescribe requirements to ensure that one party's ballot is readily
  distinguished from another's, which may include the use of
  different colors of ink.
         SECTION 26.  Sections 181.006(f) and (g), Election Code, are
  amended to read as follows:
         (f)  The following statement must appear at the top of each
  page of the petition: "I know that the purpose of this petition is
  to entitle the _______ Party to have its nominees placed on the
  ballot in the general election for state and county officers. I am
  not affiliated with another political party. [I have not voted in a
  primary election or participated in a convention of another party
  during this voting year, and I understand that I become ineligible
  to do so by signing this petition.] I understand that signing more
  than one petition to entitle a party to have its nominees placed on
  the general election ballot in the same election is prohibited."
         (g)  A person who is affiliated with another political party
  [has voted in a primary election or participated in a convention of
  another party during the voting year in which the petition is
  circulated] is ineligible to sign the petition, and the signature
  of such a person is invalid.
         SECTION 27.  Section 181.031(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  To be entitled to be considered for nomination by a
  convention held under this chapter, a person must:
               (1)  make an application for nomination; and
               (2)  be affiliated with the political party whose
  nomination for office the candidate seeks.
         SECTION 28.  Section 181.065, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 181.065.  PARTICIPANT TO BE AFFILIATED WITH PARTY
  [REGISTERED VOTER]. To be eligible to participate in a precinct
  convention held under this chapter, a person must be affiliated
  with the political party [a registered voter of the precinct or a
  precinct resident who is eligible to vote a limited ballot].
         SECTION 29.  Section 182.0041(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  To be entitled to be considered for nomination by a
  convention held under this chapter, a person must:
               (1)  make an application for nomination; and
               (2)  be affiliated with the political party whose
  nomination for office the candidate seeks.
         SECTION 30.  Sections 192.032(f) and (g), Election Code, are
  amended to read as follows:
         (f)  The following statement must appear at the top of each
  page of the petition: "I am not affiliated with a political party
  that has held [did not vote this year in] a presidential primary
  election this year."
         (g)  A signature on the petition is invalid if the signer:
               (1)  signs the petition on or before the date of the
  presidential primary election in the presidential election year; or
               (2)  is affiliated with a political party that has held
  [voted in] a presidential primary election during the presidential
  election year.
         SECTION 31.  Section 203.011, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 203.011.  PARTY ALIGNMENT ON BALLOT. The party
  alignment of each candidate shall be printed on the official ballot
  next to the candidate's name. If a candidate is affiliated with a
  political party, that party shall be printed next to the
  candidate's name regardless of the party alignment provided on the
  application under Section 203.005(b).
         SECTION 32.  Sections 162.001(b), 162.004, 162.005,
  162.006, 162.007, 162.008, 162.009, 162.010(b), 162.011, 162.012,
  172.1141, and 172.125, Election Code, are repealed.
         SECTION 33.  (a) Not later than October 1, 2019, the voter
  registrar of each county shall mail to each registered voter in the
  county notice of the affiliation requirement necessary to vote in a
  party primary election or to participate in the affairs of a
  political party. The notice must:
               (1)  inform the voter that to vote in a party primary
  election or to otherwise participate in the affairs of a political
  party the voter must be affiliated with that party;
               (2)  inform the voter of the process of affiliation
  with the voter registrar and state that if a voter does not provide
  an affiliation, the voter's next registration certificate will
  indicate that the voter is "independent" and unable to vote in a
  party's primary;
               (3)  include a postage paid postcard that may be
  returned to the voter registrar to indicate the voter's
  affiliation; and
               (4)  be in the form prescribed by the secretary of
  state.
         (b)  If a registered voter does not indicate a party
  affiliation before December 31, 2019, the voter registrar shall
  list the voter's initial affiliation status as "independent."
         (c)  The change in law made by Section 18.005(a), Election
  Code, as amended by this Act, requiring that each list of registered
  voters must indicate the political affiliation of each voter
  applies only to a list of registered voters produced by a voter
  registrar on or after December 31, 2019.
         (d)  The change in law made by Section 15.001(a), Election
  Code, as amended by this Act, requiring that each voter
  registration certificate must indicate the political affiliation
  of the voter applies only to a certificate effective for voting on
  or after January 1, 2020.
         SECTION 34.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
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