Bill Text: TX SB378 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to the electronic transmission of a ballot to a voter voting early by mail on the ground of absence from the county of residence.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-03-09 - Referred to State Affairs [SB378 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-SB378-Introduced.html
  87R3626 SGM-D
 
  By: West S.B. No. 378
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the electronic transmission of a ballot to a voter
  voting early by mail on the ground of absence from the county of
  residence.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  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
  on the ground of absence from the county of residence, the address
  outside the applicant's county of residence to which the ballot is
  to be mailed or an e-mail address for the applicant to which the
  ballot is sent by electronic transmission;
               (3)  for an application for a ballot to be voted by mail
  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
  on the ground of confinement in jail, the address of the jail or of a
  person related to the applicant within the degree described by
  Subdivision (3);
               (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 2.  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:
                           (i)  indicate the date on or after which the
  applicant can receive mail at the address outside the county; or
                           (ii)  indicate that the applicant wishes to
  receive the balloting materials by electronic transmission and
  provide an e-mail address;
                     (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 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 applying on
  the ground of confinement in jail 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 3.  Section 86.003(a), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  Except as provided by Section 86.0031, the [The]
  balloting materials for voting by mail shall be provided to the
  voter by mail. A ballot provided by any other method may not be
  counted.
         SECTION 4.  Chapter 86, Election Code, is amended by adding
  Section 86.0031 to read as follows:
         Sec. 86.0031.  ELECTRONIC METHOD OF PROVIDING
  BALLOT.  (a)  A voter voting by mail based on the ground of absence
  from the county of residence may elect to receive the balloting
  materials by electronic transmission on the voter's application for
  an early voting ballot to be voted by mail.
         (b)  Balloting materials to be sent by electronic
  transmission under this section include:
               (1)  the appropriate ballot;
               (2)  ballot instructions, including instructions that
  inform a voter that the ballot must be returned by mail to be
  counted;
               (3)  instructions prescribed by the secretary of state
  on how to create a ballot envelope and carrier envelope or signature
  sheet for the ballot; and
               (4)  a list of certified write-in candidates, if
  applicable.
         (c)  The balloting materials may be provided by e-mail to the
  voter:
               (1)  in a portable document format or similar file type
  or through a scanned format; or
               (2)  by any other method of electronic transmission
  authorized by the secretary of state in writing.
         (d)  An e-mail address used under this section to request
  balloting materials is confidential and does not constitute public
  information for purposes of Chapter 552, Government Code. An early
  voting clerk shall ensure that a voter's e-mail address provided
  under this section is excluded from public disclosure.
         (e)  The secretary of state shall prescribe procedures to
  implement this section.
         SECTION 5.  Section 86.006, Election Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (a-2) to read as
  follows:
         (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (a-2), a [A] marked
  ballot voted under this chapter must be returned to the early voting
  clerk in the official carrier envelope. The carrier envelope may be
  delivered in another envelope and must be transported and delivered
  only by:
               (1)  mail;
               (2)  common or contract carrier; or
               (3)  subject to Subsection (a-1), in-person delivery by
  the voter who voted the ballot.
         (a-2)  A marked ballot received through electronic
  transmission as provided by Section 86.0031 shall be returned to
  the early voting clerk by mail or common or contract carrier through
  the procedures prescribed by the secretary of state.
         SECTION 6.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
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