Bill Text: TX SB379 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to an early voting ballot voted by mail.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-01-21 - Filed [SB379 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-SB379-Introduced.html
  87R958 BRG-D
 
  By: West S.B. No. 379
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to an early voting ballot voted by mail.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subtitle B, Title 7, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Chapter 107 to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 107. VOTING BY MAIL AFTER DECLARATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH
  DISASTER
         Sec. 107.001.  APPLICABILITY. This chapter only applies
  during a statewide public health disaster, as defined by Section
  81.003, Health and Safety Code, that arises due to a worldwide
  outbreak of an infectious disease that may greatly increase
  morbidity or mortality and cause significant economic, social, or
  political disruption.
         Sec. 107.002.  VOTING BY MAIL AFTER DECLARATION OF PUBLIC
  HEALTH DISASTER. A qualified voter is eligible for early voting by
  mail if the voter submits an application for a ballot to vote by
  mail:
               (1)  following a declaration of a public health
  disaster described under Section 107.001; and
               (2)  in the period that an application may be submitted
  under Section 84.007.
         SECTION 2.  Section 87.027(i), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (i)  The signature verification committee shall compare the
  signature on each carrier envelope certificate, except those signed
  for a voter by a witness, with the signature on the voter's ballot
  application to determine whether the signatures are those of the
  voter. The committee may also compare the signatures with any two
  or more signatures of the voter made within the preceding six years
  and on file with the county clerk or voter registrar to determine
  whether the signatures are those of the voter. Except as provided by
  Subsection (l), a determination under this subsection that the
  signatures are not those of the voter must be made by a majority
  vote of the committee's membership. The committee shall place the
  jacket envelopes, carrier envelopes, and applications of voters
  whose signatures are not those of the voter in separate containers
  from those of voters whose signatures are those of the voter. As
  soon as practicable after the committee discovers that a voter did
  not sign the carrier envelope certificate or determines that the
  signature on the voter's ballot application or certificate is not
  that of the voter, the committee chair shall deliver the jacket
  envelope, carrier envelope, and application of the voter to the
  early voting ballot board. The committee chair shall deliver the
  jacket envelopes, carrier envelopes, and applications of voters
  whose signatures are those of the voter [sorted materials] to the
  early voting ballot board at the time specified by the board's
  presiding judge.
         SECTION 3.  Subchapter C, Chapter 87, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 87.0411 to read as follows:
         Sec. 87.0411.  OPPORTUNITY TO CORRECT SIGNATURE DEFECT. (a)
  The early voting ballot board may not reject an early voting ballot
  voted by mail on the basis that the voter did not sign the carrier
  envelope certificate or that the signature on the voter's ballot
  application or carrier envelope certificate is not that of the
  voter if the early voting clerk receives from the voter, not later
  than the ninth day after the date of the election, the following
  materials:
               (1)  a copy of one form of identification listed under
  Section 63.0101(a), or if the voter does not have access to a form
  of identification listed under that section, a document listed
  under Section 63.0101(b); and
               (2)  a signed cure affidavit in a form prescribed by the
  secretary of state stating that the ballot at issue is that of the
  voter.
         (b)  A voter may submit materials listed under Subsection (a)
  to the early voting clerk by:
               (1)  personal delivery;
               (2)  mail;
               (3)  e-mail; or
               (4)  telephonic facsimile machine, if a machine is
  available in the clerk's office.
         (c)  The early voting ballot board shall notify a voter that
  the voter's ballot contains a signature defect as soon as
  practicable after the early voting ballot board:
               (1)  discovers a missing signature on the voter's
  carrier envelope certificate;
               (2)  determines that the signature on the voter's
  ballot application or carrier envelope certificate is not the
  signature of the voter; or
               (3)  except as provided by Subsection (f), receives the
  jacket envelope, carrier envelope, and application of a voter from
  the signature verification committee under Section 87.027(i).
         (d)  The notice under Subsection (c) must:
               (1)  inform the voter that the voter's vote will not be
  counted unless the voter submits the materials listed under
  Subsection (a) not later than the date prescribed by that section;
               (2)  instruct the voter on the methods of returning the
  materials listed under Subsection (b); and
               (3)  direct the voter to the location of the cure
  affidavit on the secretary of state's Internet website.
         (e)  The early voting ballot board shall provide notice to
  the voter under Subsection (c) by any method reasonably calculated
  to provide sufficient time for the voter to submit the materials
  under Subsection (a) not later than the date prescribed by that
  section.
         (f)  The early voting ballot board is not required to provide
  notice under Subsection (c) if the board makes a determination
  under Section 87.027(j) that the signature on the carrier envelope
  certificate and ballot application are those of the voter.
         (g)  If the early voting ballot board does not provide notice
  to the voter under Subsection (c) and the ballot meets the
  requirements of Sections 87.041(b)(1), (3), (4), (5), (6), and (7),
  the board shall accept the ballot in the manner provided by Section
  87.042.
         (h)  The secretary of state shall:
               (1)  prominently display and maintain on the main page
  of the secretary's Internet website a link to a blank version of the
  affidavit described by Subsection (a)(2); and
               (2)  adopt rules and prescribe forms as necessary to
  implement this section.
         (i)  An affidavit prescribed under this section must include
  clear instructions for completion and notice of the penalties
  associated with election fraud and voting more than once in an
  election.
         SECTION 4.  Sections 87.041(b) and (d), Election Code, are
  amended to read as follows:
         (b)  Except as provided by Section 87.0411(g), a [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;
               (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
               (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.
         (d)  Except as provided by Section 87.0411(g), a [A] ballot
  shall be rejected if any requirement prescribed by Subsection (b)
  is not satisfied. In that case, the board shall indicate the
  rejection by entering "rejected" on the carrier envelope and on the
  corresponding jacket envelope.
         SECTION 5.  The changes in law made by this Act apply only to
  an election ordered on or after September 1, 2021.
         SECTION 6.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
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