Bill Text: TX SB598 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Engrossed


Bill Title: Relating to auditable voting systems.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2021-05-04 - Reported favorably w/o amendment(s) [SB598 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-SB598-Engrossed.html
 
 
  By: Kolkhorst S.B. No. 598
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to auditable voting systems.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Chapter 127, Election Code, is amended by adding
  Subchapter I to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER I. RISK-LIMITING AUDIT
         Sec. 127.301.  APPLICABILITY OF SUBCHAPTER. This subchapter
  applies to an election: 
               (1)  that occurs after August 31, 2026;
               (2)  that contains a race or measure that is voted on
  statewide; and 
               (3)  in which an auditable voting system described by
  Section 129.003(a) is used.
         Sec. 127.302.  RISK-LIMITING AUDIT. (a) Not later than 24
  hours after all ballots have been counted in an election, the
  general custodian of election records shall conduct a risk-limiting
  audit for a selected statewide race or measure.
         (b)  The secretary of state shall select, in accordance with
  rules adopted by the secretary, the precincts to be counted and the
  office or proposition to be counted.
         (c)  The general custodian of election records shall
  complete the audit not later than 24 hours before the time for
  conducting the canvass of the election.
         (d)  The general custodian of election records shall post a
  notice of the date, hour, and place of the audit in the custodian's
  office and on the county's Internet website, if the county
  maintains a website.
         (e)  A watcher may be present for the audit if appointed by a
  candidate in the election. A watcher must deliver a certificate of
  appointment to the general custodian of election records at the
  time the watcher reports for service. The certificate must be in
  writing and must include:
               (1)  the printed name and signature of the watcher;
               (2)  the election subject to the audit; and
               (3)  the printed name and signature of the candidate
  making the appointment.
         (f)  The secretary of state may appoint personnel to assist
  with the audit, including applicable voting system technicians or
  representatives and persons who have assisted with the design and
  implementation of the audit.
         Sec. 127.303.  RULES. (a) The secretary of state shall
  adopt rules prescribing procedures necessary to implement this
  subchapter.
         (b)  Rules adopted under this subchapter must include a rule,
  using widely accepted statistical methods, that provides for the
  number or percentage of paper records that must be counted in a
  risk-limiting audit under Section 127.302.
         Sec. 127.304.  PUBLICATION OF RESULTS. The results of a
  risk-limiting audit conducted under this subchapter must be
  published on the Internet website of the secretary of state not
  later than three days after the completion of the audit.
         Sec. 127.305.  PILOT PROGRAM. (a) Notwithstanding Section
  127.301(1), the secretary of state shall conduct a pilot program,
  beginning with the election taking place November 8, 2022, of the
  risk-limiting audit program created under this subchapter.
         (b)  The secretary of state shall select at least five
  counties to participate in the pilot program.  At least one county
  participating in the pilot program must have a population of at
  least 500,000.
         (c)  After each election conducted under the pilot program,
  the secretary of state shall send a detailed report to each member
  of the legislature evaluating the success of the program and making
  a recommendation as to whether the legislature should act to delay
  the statewide implementation of the program.
         (d)  The secretary of state shall adopt rules as necessary to
  implement this section.
         (e)  This section expires August 31, 2026.
         Sec. 127.306.  WAIVER NOT PERMITTED. The secretary of state
  may not waive any requirements of this subchapter.
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter A, Chapter 129, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 129.003 to read as follows:
         Sec. 129.003.  PAPER AUDIT TRAIL REQUIRED. (a) In this
  section, "auditable voting system" means a voting system that:
               (1)  uses, creates, or displays a paper record that may
  be read by the voter; and
               (2)  is not capable of being connected to the Internet
  or any other computer network or electronic device.
         (b)  Except as otherwise provided by this section, a voting
  system that consists of direct recording electronic voting machines
  may not be used in an election unless the system is an auditable
  voting system.
         (c)  The electronic vote is the official record of the vote
  cast if a risk-limiting audit conducted under Section 127.302
  produces strong evidence that the reported outcome of the election
  matches the results that a full counting of the paper records would
  reveal.
         (d)  The paper record is the official record of the vote
  cast:
               (1)  for a recount under Title 13, including a recount
  of ballots cast on a system involving direct recording electronic
  voting machines;
               (2)  for an election contest under Title 14; or
               (3)  if a risk-limiting audit conducted under Section
  127.302 fails to produce strong evidence that the reported outcome
  of the election matches the results that a full counting of the
  paper records would reveal.
         (e)  An authority that purchased a voting system other than
  an auditable voting system after September 1, 2014, and before
  September 1, 2021, may use available federal funding and, if
  federal funding is not available, available state funding to
  convert the purchased voting system into an auditable voting system
  in accordance with the following schedule:
               (1)  if the voting system was converted into an
  auditable voting system not later than the election taking place
  November 8, 2022, the authority is eligible to have 100 percent of
  the cost of conversion reimbursed under this section; and
               (2)  if the authority is not eligible for a 100 percent
  reimbursement of cost under Subdivision (1) and the voting system
  was converted into an auditable voting system not later than the
  election taking place November 3, 2026, the authority is eligible
  to have 50 percent of the cost of conversion reimbursed under this
  section.
         (f)  The secretary of state may use any available funds to
  assist an authority with the purchase of an auditable voting system
  if the funds have been appropriated for that purpose.
         (g)  Subsections (b), (c), and (d) do not apply to an
  election held before September 1, 2026.
         (h)  A paper record generated by an auditable voting system
  may be used only for the purposes described by this section and may
  not be retained by the voter.
         (i)  Notwithstanding Subsection (b), a voter voting under
  Section 64.009 may use a direct recording electronic voting machine
  regardless of whether the direct recording electronic voting
  machine is part of an auditable voting system.
         (j)  The secretary of state may not waive any requirements of
  this section.
         SECTION 3.  Section 129.054, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 129.054.  NETWORK CONNECTIONS AND WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY.
  (a) A voting system may not be connected to any external
  communications network, including the Internet. Beginning
  September 1, 2026, a voting system may not be capable of being
  connected to any external or internal communications network,
  including the Internet.
         (b)  A voting system may not have the capability of
  permitting wireless communication unless the system uses
  line-of-sight infrared technology that shields the transmitter and
  receiver from external infrared transmissions and the system can
  only accept transmissions generated by the system. Beginning
  September 1, 2026, a voting system may not have the capability of
  permitting wireless communication.
         (c)  The secretary of state may not waive any requirements of
  this section.
         SECTION 4.  The secretary of state is required to implement a
  provision of this Act only if the legislature appropriates money
  specifically for that purpose.  If the legislature does not
  appropriate money specifically for that purpose, the secretary of
  state may, but is not required to, implement a provision of this Act
  using other appropriations that are available for that purpose.
         SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
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