Bill Text: TX SB359 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to straight-party voting.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-02-07 - Referred to State Affairs [SB359 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-SB359-Introduced.html
  86R3624 GRM-D
 
  By: Miles S.B. No. 359
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to straight-party voting.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 1.005, Election Code, as effective
  September 1, 2020, is amended by adding Subdivision (20) to read as
  follows:
               (20)  "Straight-party vote" means a vote by a single
  mark, punch, or other action by the voter for all the nominees of
  one political party and for no other candidates.
         SECTION 2.  Section 31.012(a), Election Code, as effective
  September 1, 2020, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  The secretary of state and the voter registrar of each
  county that maintains a website shall provide notice of the
  identification requirements for voting prescribed by Chapter 63
  [and that straight ticket voting has been eliminated pursuant to
  H.B. 25, Acts of the 85th Legislature, Regular Session, 2017] on
  each entity's respective website in each language in which voter
  registration [and election] materials are available.  The secretary
  of state shall prescribe the wording of the notice to be included on
  the websites.
         SECTION 3.  Subchapter C, Chapter 52, Election Code, as
  effective September 1, 2020, is amended by adding Section 52.071 to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 52.071.  VOTING SQUARE AND INSTRUCTION FOR
  STRAIGHT-PARTY VOTE.  (a)  On a ballot on which a party column
  appears, a square larger than the square prescribed by Section
  52.070(a) shall be printed to the left of each political party's
  name.
         (b)  The following instruction shall be added to the
  instruction required by Section 52.070(b):  "You may cast a
  straight-party vote (that is, cast a vote for all the nominees of
  one party) by placing an 'X' in the square beside the name of the
  party of your choice.  If you cast a straight-party vote for all the
  nominees of one party and also cast a vote for an opponent of one of
  that party's nominees, your vote for the opponent will be counted as
  well as your vote for all the other nominees of the party for which
  the straight-party vote was cast."
         SECTION 4.  Section 62.011(c), Election Code, as effective
  September 1, 2020, is amended to read as follows:
         (c)  The poster must include instructions applicable to the
  election on:
               (1)  marking and depositing the ballot;
               (2)  voting for a write-in candidate;
               (3)  casting a provisional ballot; [and]
               (4)  securing an additional ballot if the voter's
  original ballot is spoiled; and
               (5)  casting a straight-party vote.
         SECTION 5.  Subchapter A, Chapter 64, Election Code, as
  effective September 1, 2020, is amended by adding Section 64.004 to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 64.004.  MARKING THE BALLOT FOR STRAIGHT-PARTY VOTE.  
  In an election in which a single square is provided on the ballot
  for casting a straight-party vote, a straight-party vote must be
  indicated by placing an "X" or other mark that clearly shows the
  voter's intent in the square beside the name of the appropriate
  political party.
         SECTION 6.  Subchapter A, Chapter 65, Election Code, as
  effective September 1, 2020, is amended by adding Section 65.007 to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 65.007.  TALLYING STRAIGHT-PARTY VOTES.  (a)  In an
  election in which a single square is provided on the ballot for
  casting a straight-party vote, the tally lists shall contain spaces
  for tallying those votes.
         (b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c) or (d), each
  straight-party vote shall be tallied for the party receiving the
  vote instead of being tallied for the individual candidates of the
  party. The total number of straight-party votes tallied for each
  party shall be added to the total votes received for each of the
  party nominees individually.
         (c)  If a ballot indicates a straight-party vote and a vote
  for an opponent of one or more of that party's nominees, a vote
  shall be counted for the opponent and for each of the party's other
  nominees whether or not any of those nominees have received
  individual votes.
         (d)  If a ballot indicates straight-party votes for more than
  one party, those votes may not be tallied and a vote shall be
  counted for each candidate receiving an individual vote if no other
  individual votes are received in that race. If no candidate
  receives an individual vote, the portion of the ballot for offices
  may not be counted.
         SECTION 7.  Section 65.011, Election Code, as effective
  September 1, 2020, is amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 65.011.  OVERVOTING.  Except as provided by Section
  65.007(c) or (d), if [If] a voter marks the ballot for more
  candidates for an office than the number of persons to be elected
  for that office, none of the votes may be counted for that office.
         SECTION 8.  Section 105.002(c), Election Code, as effective
  September 1, 2020, is amended to read as follows:
         (c)  The secretary of state shall prescribe the form of the
  ballot to allow a voter to cast a vote in each federal, state, or
  local race in the election.  The ballot must allow a voter to write
  in the name of a candidate or, if applicable, cast a straight-party
  vote.
         SECTION 9.  Section 122.001, Election Code, as effective
  September 1, 2020, is amended by amending Subsection (a) and adding
  Subsection (b) to read as follows:
         (a)  A voting system may not be used in an election unless the
  system:
               (1)  preserves the secrecy of the ballot;
               (2)  is suitable for the purpose for which it is
  intended;
               (3)  operates safely, efficiently, and accurately and
  complies with the voting system standards adopted by the Election
  Assistance Commission;
               (4)  is safe from fraudulent or unauthorized
  manipulation;
               (5)  permits voting on all offices and measures to be
  voted on at the election;
               (6)  prevents counting votes on offices and measures on
  which the voter is not entitled to vote;
               (7)  prevents counting votes by the same voter for more
  than one candidate for the same office or, in elections in which a
  voter is entitled to vote for more than one candidate for the same
  office, prevents counting votes for more than the number of
  candidates for which the voter is entitled to vote;
               (8)  prevents counting a vote on the same office or
  measure more than once;
               (9)  permits write-in voting; [and]
               (10)  is capable of providing records from which the
  operation of the voting system may be audited; and
               (11)  is capable of permitting straight-party voting.
         (b)  A voting system may not be used in an election in which
  straight-party voting is permitted unless the system permits or
  prevents, as applicable, counting votes in accordance with Sections
  65.007(c) and (d).
         SECTION 10.  Subchapter A, Chapter 124, Election Code, as
  effective September 1, 2020, is amended by adding Section 124.001
  to read as follows:
         Sec. 124.001.  STRAIGHT-PARTY ARRANGEMENT.  In an election
  in which voters are entitled to cast straight-party votes, the
  voting system ballot shall be arranged to permit the voters to do
  so.
         SECTION 11.  Section 124.003, Election Code, as effective
  September 1, 2020, is amended by adding Subsection (d) to read as
  follows:
         (d)  The requirement that the ballot be arranged to permit
  straight-party voting does not apply to candidates listed under the
  uncontested races heading.
         SECTION 12.  Section 124.063, Election Code, as effective
  September 1, 2020, is amended by adding Subsection (d) to read as
  follows:
         (d)  The electronic system ballot for an election in which
  straight-party voting is allowed must contain the instruction
  prescribed by Section 52.071(b) with the language relating to
  placing an "X" in the party square changed as appropriate to
  accommodate the method by which the voter indicates a vote.
         SECTION 13.  Section 129.023(c), Election Code, as effective
  September 1, 2020, is amended to read as follows:
         (c)  The general custodian of election records shall adopt
  procedures for testing that:
               (1)  direct the testing board to cast votes;
               (2)  verify that each contest position, as well as each
  precinct and ballot style, on the ballot can be voted and is
  accurately counted;
               (3)  include overvotes and undervotes for each race, if
  applicable to the system being tested;
               (4)  include write-in votes, when applicable to the
  election;
               (5)  include provisional votes, if applicable to the
  system being tested;
               (6)  calculate the expected results from the test
  ballots;
               (7)  ensure that each voting machine has any public
  counter reset to zero and presented to the testing board for
  verification before testing;
               (8)  require that, for each feature of the system that
  allows disabled voters to cast a ballot, at least one vote be cast
  and verified by a two-person testing board team using that feature;
  [and]
               (9)  require that, when all votes are cast, the general
  custodian of election records and the testing board observe the
  tabulation of all ballots and compare the actual results to the
  expected results; and
               (10)  include straight-party votes and crossover
  votes.
         SECTION 14.  Section 232.050, Election Code, as effective
  September 1, 2020, is amended by adding Subsection (d) to read as
  follows:
         (d)  The requirement that a ballot on which a party nominee
  appears must be arranged to permit casting a straight-party vote
  does not apply to the ballot for the new election if fewer than
  three offices are to appear on the ballot.
         SECTION 15.  Sections 31.012(b-1) and (d), Election Code, as
  effective September 1, 2020, are repealed.
         SECTION 16.  This Act takes effect immediately if it
  receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each
  house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  
  If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate
  effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
feedback