Bill Text: TX SB7 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Comm Sub

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
Bill Title: Relating to election integrity and security, including by preventing fraud in the conduct of elections in this state; increasing criminal penalties; creating criminal offenses.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 19-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2021-05-07 - Record vote [SB7 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-SB7-Comm_Sub.html
 
 
  By: Hughes, et al.  S.B. No. 7
         (In the Senate - Filed March 11, 2021; March 11, 2021, read
  first time and referred to Committee on State Affairs;
  March 29, 2021, reported adversely, with favorable Committee
  Substitute by the following vote:  Yeas 5, Nays 2; March 29, 2021,
  sent to printer.)
Click here to see the committee vote
 
  COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR S.B. No. 7 By:  Hughes
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
 
  relating to elections, including election integrity and security;
  creating a criminal offense; providing civil penalties.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
  ARTICLE 1. VOTER REGISTRATION
         SECTION 1.01.  Chapter 42, Code of Criminal Procedure, is
  amended by adding Article 42.0194 to read as follows:
         Art. 42.0194.  FINDING REGARDING FELONY CONVICTION. In the
  trial of a felony offense, if the defendant is 18 years of age or
  older and is adjudged guilty of the offense, the court shall:
               (1)  make an affirmative finding that the person has
  been found guilty of a felony and enter the affirmative finding in
  the judgment of the case; and
               (2)  instruct the defendant regarding how the felony
  conviction will impact the defendant's right to vote in this state.
         SECTION 1.02.  Section 13.002, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (c-1) to read as follows:
         (c-1)  A registration application must require the applicant
  to affirmatively indicate all information provided on the
  application.
         SECTION 1.03.  Section 15.028, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 15.028.  NOTICE OF UNLAWFUL VOTING OR REGISTRATION [TO
  PROSECUTOR]. [(a)] If the registrar determines that a person who
  is not eligible to vote may have registered to vote or [a registered
  voter] voted in an election, the registrar shall execute and
  deliver to the attorney general, the secretary of state, and the
  county or district attorney having jurisdiction in the territory
  covered by the election an affidavit stating the relevant facts.
         [(b)  If the election covers territory in more than one
  county, the registrar shall also deliver an affidavit to the
  attorney general.]
         SECTION 1.04.  Section 16.0332(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  After the registrar receives a list under Section 18.068
  of this code or Section 62.113, Government Code, of persons excused
  or disqualified from jury service or otherwise determined to be
  ineligible to vote because of citizenship status, the registrar
  shall deliver to each registered voter whose name appears on the
  list a written notice requiring the voter to submit to the registrar
  proof of United States citizenship in the form of a certified copy
  of the voter's birth certificate, United States passport, or
  certificate of naturalization or any other form prescribed by the
  secretary of state.  The notice shall be delivered by forwardable
  mail to the mailing address on the voter's registration application
  and to any new address of the voter known to the registrar.
         SECTION 1.05.  Section 18.065, Election Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (e), (f), and (g) to
  read as follows:
         (a)  The secretary of state shall monitor each registrar for
  substantial compliance with Sections 15.083, 16.032, 16.0332, and
  18.061 and with rules implementing the statewide computerized voter
  registration list.
         (e)  If a registrar fails to correct a violation within 30
  days of a notice under Subsection (b), the secretary of state shall
  correct the violation on behalf of the registrar.
         (f)  A registrar is liable to this state for a civil penalty
  of $100 for each violation corrected by the secretary of state under
  Subsection (e). The attorney general may bring an action to recover
  a civil penalty imposed under this section.
         (g)  A civil penalty collected by the attorney general under
  this section shall be deposited in the state treasury to the credit
  of the general revenue fund.
         SECTION 1.06.  The changes in law made by this article apply
  only to an application for voter registration submitted on or after
  the effective date of this Act.
  ARTICLE 2. VOTING BY MAIL
         SECTION 2.01.  Subchapter A, Chapter 84, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 84.0011 to read as follows:
         Sec. 84.0011.  SOLICITATION OF BALLOT BY MAIL APPLICATIONS
  PROHIBITED. The early voting clerk may make no attempt to solicit a
  person to complete an application for an early voting ballot by
  mail, whether directly or through a third party.
         SECTION 2.02.  Section 84.002, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (c) to read as follows:
         (c)  An application for a ballot to be voted by mail on the
  ground of disability must require the applicant to affirmatively
  indicate that the applicant agrees with the statement "I have a
  sickness or physical condition that prevents me from appearing at
  the polling place on election day without a likelihood of needing
  personal assistance or injuring my health," as prescribed by
  Section 82.002(a).
         SECTION 2.03.  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 state jail felony [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 indicate the date
  on or after which the applicant can receive mail at the address
  outside the county;
                     (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 2.04.  Subchapter A, Chapter 84, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 84.0111 to read as follows:
         Sec. 84.0111.  PROHIBITION ON DISTRIBUTION OF APPLICATION
  FORM. (a) Unless authorized by this code, an officer or employee
  of this state or of a political subdivision of this state may not
  distribute an application form for an early voting ballot to a
  person who did not request an application under Section 84.001.
         (b)  An officer or employee of this state or of a political
  subdivision of this state may not use public funds to facilitate the
  distribution by another person of an application form for an early
  voting ballot to a person who did not request an application under
  Section 84.001.
         SECTION 2.05.  Section 84.035, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 84.035.  BALLOT SENT TO APPLICANT. (a) If the early
  voting clerk cancels an application by an applicant to whom an early
  voting ballot has been sent, the clerk shall:
               (1)  remove the applicant's name from the early voting
  roster; and
               (2)  make any other entries in the records and take any
  other action necessary to prevent the ballot from being counted if
  returned.
         (b)  A person to whom an early voting ballot has been sent who
  cancels the person's application for a ballot to be voted by mail in
  accordance with Section 84.032 but fails to return the ballot to be
  voted by mail to the early voting clerk, deputy early voting clerk,
  or presiding judge as provided by that section may only vote a
  provisional ballot under Section 63.011.
         SECTION 2.06.  Section 86.0015, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (b-3) to read as follows:
         (b-3)  An application for a ballot to be voted by mail on the
  ground of disability under this section must include or be
  accompanied by:
               (1)  written documentation from the United States
  Social Security Administration or the United States Department of
  Veterans Affairs evidencing that the applicant has been determined
  to have a disability; or
               (2)  a certificate of a licensed physician or
  chiropractor or accredited Christian Science practitioner in
  substantially the following form:
         "This is to certify that I personally know that __________
  has a sickness or physical condition that will prevent him or her
  from appearing at a polling place without a likelihood of needing
  personal assistance or of injuring his or her health.
         "Witness my hand at __________, Texas, this __________ day of
  __________, 20___.
  ________________________________
  (signature of physician,         
  chiropractor, or practitioner)   
  ________________________________
  (printed name of physician,      
  chiropractor, or practitioner)" 
         SECTION 2.07.  Section 86.006, Election Code, is amended by
  amending Subsections (a) and (e) and adding Subsection (a-2) to
  read as follows:
         (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 Subsections [Subsection] (a-1) and
  (a-2), in-person delivery by the voter who voted the ballot.
         (a-2)  An in-person delivery of a marked ballot voted under
  this chapter must be received at the time of delivery by a person. A
  ballot delivered in violation of this subsection may not be
  counted.
         (e)  Carrier envelopes may not be collected and stored at
  another location for subsequent delivery to the early voting clerk.
  The secretary of state shall prescribe appropriate procedures to
  implement this subsection and to provide accountability for the
  delivery of the carrier envelopes from the voting place to the early
  voting clerk. A ballot delivered in violation of this subsection
  may not be counted.
         SECTION 2.08.  Section 86.011(c), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (c)  If the return is not timely, the clerk shall enter the
  time of receipt on the carrier envelope and retain it in a locked
  container for the period for preserving the precinct election
  records. The clerk shall destroy the unopened envelope and its
  contents after the preservation period.
         SECTION 2.09.  Chapter 86, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Section 86.015 to read as follows:
         Sec. 86.015.  ELECTRONIC TRACKING OF APPLICATION FOR BALLOT
  VOTED BY MAIL OR BALLOT VOTED BY MAIL. (a) The secretary of state
  shall develop or otherwise provide an online tool to each early
  voting clerk that enables a person who submits an application for a
  ballot to be voted by mail to track the location and status of the
  person's application and ballot on the secretary's Internet website
  and on the county's Internet website if the early voting clerk is
  the county clerk of a county that maintains an Internet website.
         (b)  The online tool developed or provided under Subsection
  (a) must require the voter to provide, before permitting the voter
  to access information described by that subsection:
               (1)  the voter's name and registration address and the
  last four digits of the voter's social security number; and
               (2)  the voter's:
                     (A)  driver's license number; or
                     (B)  personal identification card number issued
  by the Department of Public Safety.
         (c)  An online tool used under this section must update the
  applicable Internet website as soon as practicable after each of
  the following events occurs:
               (1)  receipt by the early voting clerk of the person's
  application for a ballot to be voted by mail;
               (2)  acceptance or rejection by the early voting clerk
  of the person's application for a ballot to be voted by mail;
               (3)  placement in the mail by the early voting clerk of
  the person's official ballot;
               (4)  receipt by the early voting clerk of the person's
  marked ballot; and
               (5)  acceptance or rejection by the early voting ballot
  board of a person's marked ballot.
         (d)  The secretary of state shall adopt rules and prescribe
  procedures as necessary to implement this section.
         SECTION 2.10.  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
  known signature [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.  The committee chair shall deliver the sorted
  materials to the early voting ballot board at the time specified by
  the board's presiding judge.
         SECTION 2.11.  Section 87.041(e), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (e)  In making the determination under Subsection (b)(2),
  the board may also compare the signatures with any known signature
  [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.
         SECTION 2.12.  Sections 87.062(a) and (c), Election Code,
  are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  On the direction of the presiding judge, the early
  voting ballot board, in accordance with Section 85.032(b), shall
  open the containers [container] for the early voting ballots that
  are to be counted by the board, remove the contents from each [the]
  container, and remove any ballots enclosed in ballot envelopes from
  their envelopes.
         (c)  Ballots voted by mail shall be tabulated separately from
  the ballots voted by personal appearance and shall be separately
  reported on the returns [The results of all early voting ballots
  counted by the board under this subchapter shall be included in the
  same return].
         SECTION 2.13.  Section 87.103, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 87.103.  COUNTING BALLOTS AND PREPARING RETURNS. (a)
  The early voting electronic system ballots counted at a central
  counting station, the ballots cast at precinct polling places, and
  the ballots voted by mail shall be tabulated separately [from the
  ballots cast at precinct polling places] and shall be separately
  reported on the returns.
         (b)  The early voting returns prepared at the central
  counting station must include any early voting results obtained by
  the early voting ballot board under Subchapter [Subchapters] D [and
  E].
         SECTION 2.14.  Section 87.126, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (a-1) to read as follows:
         (a-1)  Electronic records made under this section shall
  record both sides of any application, envelope, or ballot recorded,
  and all such records shall be provided to the early voting ballot
  board, the signature verification committee, or both.
         SECTION 2.15.  The changes in law made by this article apply
  only to an application for an early voting ballot to be voted by
  mail that is submitted on or after the effective date of this Act.
  ARTICLE 3. ELECTION SECURITY
         SECTION 3.01.  Section 33.006(b), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (b)  A certificate of appointment must:
               (1)  be in writing and signed by the appointing
  authority or, for an appointment for a write-in candidate under
  Section 33.004, by each of the voters making the appointment;
               (2)  indicate the capacity in which the appointing
  authority is acting;
               (3)  state the name, residence address, and voter
  registration number of the appointee and be signed by the
  appointee;
               (4)  identify the election and the precinct polling
  place or other location at which the appointee is to serve; and
               (5)  in an election on a measure, identify the measure
  if more than one is to be voted on and state which side of the
  measure the appointee represents[; and
               [(6)  contain an affidavit executed by the appointee
  stating that the appointee will not have possession of a device
  capable of recording images or sound or that the appointee will
  disable or deactivate the device while serving as a watcher].
         SECTION 3.02.  Section 33.051(c), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (c)  [A watcher may not be accepted for service if the
  watcher has possession of a device capable of recording images or
  sound unless the watcher agrees to disable or deactivate the
  device.] The presiding judge may inquire whether a watcher has
  possession of a [any prohibited] recording device before accepting
  the watcher for service.
         SECTION 3.03.  Section 33.056, Election Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (e) and (f) to read
  as follows:
         (a)  Except as provided by Section 33.057, a watcher is
  entitled to observe any activity conducted at the location at which
  the watcher is serving. A watcher is entitled to sit or stand
  [conveniently] near enough to see and hear the election officers
  conducting the observed activity, except as otherwise prohibited by
  this chapter.
         (e)  Except as provided by Section 33.057(b), a watcher may
  not be denied free movement within the location at which the watcher
  is serving.
         (f)  In this code, a watcher who is entitled to "observe" an
  activity is entitled to sit or stand near enough to see and hear the
  activity.
         SECTION 3.04.  Section 33.061, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (c) to read as follows:
         (c)  An offense under Subsection (a) includes an action taken
  to distance or obstruct the view of a watcher in a way that makes
  observation reasonably ineffective.
         SECTION 3.05.  Section 43.007, Election Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (m) and adding Subsections (m-1), (m-2), and
  (q) to read as follows:
         (m)  In adopting a methodology under Subsection (f), the
  county must ensure that:
               (1)  in a county with a population of less than one
  million:
                     (A)  each county commissioners precinct contains
  at least one countywide polling place; and
                     (B)  the deviation in the percentage of the total
  number of countywide polling places located in a commissioners
  precinct does not vary by more than one percentage point in a
  precinct; and
               (2)  in a county with a population of one million or
  more, the number of polling places located in each state
  representative district included in the territory of the county is
  calculated by dividing the number of voters residing in that
  district by the total number of voters residing in the county and
  using the number generated as a percentage to allocate the same
  percentage of polling place locations, rounding up to the nearest
  whole number, if necessary [the total number of permanent branch
  and temporary branch polling places open for voting in a county
  commissioners precinct does not exceed more than twice the number
  of permanent branch and temporary branch polling places in another
  county commissioners precinct].
         (m-1)  In making a calculation under Subsection (m), voter
  data from the most recent election shall be used.
         (m-2)  Election officials and voting equipment, materials,
  and supplies must be allocated to each polling place based on the
  same percentage as polling place locations are determined under
  Subsection (m) with no greater than a five percent deviation in the
  allocation between polling place locations. Each polling place
  location must be able to accommodate 100 percent of the equipment
  allocated to be operational at the same time.
         (q)  Each countywide polling place in a county must have
  approximately the same number of voting machines as each other
  countywide polling place in the county.
         SECTION 3.06.  Section 43.031(b), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (b)  Each polling place shall be located inside a building.
  A polling place may not be located in a tent or other temporary
  moveable structure or in a facility primarily designed for motor
  vehicles. No voter may cast a vote from inside a motor vehicle
  unless the voter meets the requirements of Section 64.009.
         SECTION 3.07.  Section 61.014, Election Code, is amended by
  amending Subsections (a) and (b) and adding Subsection (b-1) to
  read as follows:
         (a)  A person, other than a watcher using the device solely
  to record image or sound as permitted under Subsection (b), may not
  use a wireless communication device within 100 feet of a voting
  station.
         (b)  A person, other than a watcher, may not use a [any]
  mechanical or electronic device to record [means of recording]
  images or sound at a polling place. A watcher may use such a device
  to record images or sound at a polling place, except that a watcher
  may record activity [within 100 feet] of a voter at a voting station
  only if the voter is receiving assistance the watcher reasonably
  believes to be unlawful.
         (b-1)  A recording made by a watcher under Subsection (b) may
  not capture or record any information on a voter's ballot.
         SECTION 3.08.  Section 64.007(c), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (c)  An election officer shall maintain a register of spoiled
  ballots at the polling place, including spoiled ballots from a
  direct recording electronic voting unit. An election officer shall
  enter on the register the name of each voter who returns a spoiled
  ballot and the spoiled ballot's number.
         SECTION 3.09.  Section 64.009, Election Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (b) and adding Subsections (b-1), (e), (f),
  (g), and (h) to read as follows:
         (b)  The regular voting procedures, except those in
  Subchapter B, may be modified by the election officer to the extent
  necessary to conduct voting under this section.
         (b-1)  A person other than the voter is only permitted to be
  inside the motor vehicle while the voter votes if the person would
  be entitled to accompany the voter to the voting station under other
  law.
         (e)  Except as provided by Section 33.057, a poll watcher is
  entitled to observe any activity conducted under this section.
         (f)  A person who assists three or more voters voting under
  this section by providing the voters with transportation to the
  polling place must complete and sign a form that contains the
  person's name and address and whether the person is providing
  assistance solely under this section or under both this section and
  Subchapter B.
         (g)  A form completed under Subsection (f) shall be delivered
  to the secretary of state as soon as practicable. The secretary
  shall retain a form delivered under this section for the period for
  preserving the precinct election records and shall make the form
  available to the attorney general for inspection upon request.
         (h)  The secretary of state shall prescribe the form
  described by Subsection (f).
         SECTION 3.10.  Subchapter B, Chapter 64, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 64.0322 to read as follows:
         Sec. 64.0322.  SUBMISSION OF FORM BY ASSISTANT. (a) A
  person, other than an election officer, who assists a voter in
  accordance with this chapter is required to complete a form
  stating:
               (1)  the name and address of the person assisting the
  voter;
               (2)  the manner in which the person assisted the voter;
               (3)  the reason the assistance was necessary; and
               (4)  the relationship of the assistant to the voter.
         (b)  The secretary of state shall prescribe the form required
  by this section. The form must be incorporated into the official
  carrier envelope if the voter is voting an early voting ballot by
  mail and receives assistance under Section 86.010, or must be
  submitted to an election officer at the time the voter casts a
  ballot if the voter is voting at a polling place or under Section
  64.009.
         SECTION 3.11.  Section 66.052, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 66.052.  DELIVERY BY ELECTION CLERK; CHAIN OF CUSTODY.
  (a) A delivery of election records or supplies that is to be
  performed by the presiding judge may be performed by an election
  clerk designated by the presiding judge.
         (b)  The presiding judge or an election clerk designated by
  the presiding judge under this section must keep records of each
  person that has custody of a precinct election record until the
  records are delivered.
         SECTION 3.12.  Sections 66.058(b) and (g), Election Code,
  are amended to read as follows:
         (b)  For a period of at least 60 days after the date of the
  election, or until any election contest is resolved, whichever is
  longer, the voted ballots shall be preserved securely in a locked
  room in the locked ballot box in which they are delivered to the
  general custodian of election records. On the 61st day after
  election day, or the day an election contest is resolved, whichever
  is later, the general custodian of election records may:
               (1)  require a person who has possession of a key that
  operates the lock on a ballot box containing voted ballots to return
  the key to the custodian; and
               (2)  unlock the ballot box and transfer the voted
  ballots to another secure container for the remainder of the
  preservation period.
         (g)  Electronic records created under Chapter 129 shall be
  preserved in a secure container. An electronic device used to store
  records may not be altered in any manner as to delete or overwrite
  the records during the preservation period.
         SECTION 3.13.  Section 85.005, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 85.005.  REGULAR DAYS AND HOURS FOR VOTING. (a)  Except
  as provided by Subsection (c), in an election in which a county
  clerk [or city secretary] is the early voting clerk under Section
  83.002 [or 83.005], early voting by personal appearance at the main
  early voting polling place shall be conducted on each weekday of
  [the weekdays of] the early voting period that is not a legal state
  holiday and for a period of at least nine hours, except that voting
  may not be conducted earlier than 6 a.m. or later than 9 p.m.
  [during the hours that the county clerk's or city secretary's main
  business office is regularly open for business.]
         (b)  In an election to which Subsection (a) does not apply,
  early voting by personal appearance at the main early voting
  polling place shall be conducted at least nine [eight] hours each
  weekday of the early voting period that is not a legal state holiday
  unless the territory covered by the election has fewer than 1,000
  registered voters. In that case, the voting shall be conducted at
  least four [three] hours each day. The authority ordering the
  election, or the county clerk if that person is the early voting
  clerk, shall determine which hours the voting is to be conducted.
         (c)  In a county with a population of 30,000 [100,000] or
  more, the voting in a primary election or the general election for
  state and county officers shall be conducted at the main early
  voting polling place for [at least] 12 hours on each weekday of the
  last week of the early voting period, and the voting in a special
  election ordered by the governor shall be conducted at the main
  early voting polling place for [at least] 12 hours on each of the
  last two days of the early voting period. Voting under this
  subsection may not be conducted earlier than 6 a.m. or later than 9
  p.m. Voting shall be conducted in accordance with this subsection
  in those elections in a county with a population under 30,000
  [100,000] on receipt by the early voting clerk of a written request
  for the extended hours submitted by at least 15 registered voters of
  the county. The request must be submitted in time to enable
  compliance with Section 85.067.
         [(d)  In an election ordered by a city, early voting by
  personal appearance at the main early voting polling place shall be
  conducted for at least 12 hours:
               [(1) on one weekday, if the early voting period consists
  of less than six weekdays; or
               [(2) on two weekdays, if the early voting period
  consists of six or more weekdays.]
         SECTION 3.14.  Section 85.006(b), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (b)  In an election in which a county clerk [or city
  secretary] is the early voting clerk under Section 83.002 [or
  83.005], only the early voting clerk may order voting on a Saturday
  or Sunday.  The clerk must do so by written order.
         SECTION 3.15.  Section 85.010(a-1), Election Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (a-1)  In this section, "eligible county polling place"
  means an early voting polling place[, other than a polling place
  established under Section 85.062(e),] established by a county.
         SECTION 3.16.  Section 85.061(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  In a countywide election in which the county clerk is
  the early voting clerk under Section 83.002, an early voting
  polling place shall be located inside [at] each branch office that
  is regularly maintained for conducting general clerical functions
  of the county clerk, except as provided by Subsection (b). If a
  suitable room is unavailable inside the branch office, the polling
  place may be located in another room inside the same building as the
  branch office. The polling place may not be located in a tent or
  other temporary movable structure or a parking garage, parking lot,
  or similar facility designed primarily for motor vehicles.
         SECTION 3.17.  Section 85.062(b), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (b)  A polling place established under this section may be
  located, subject to Subsection (d), at any place in the territory
  served by the early voting clerk and may be located inside [in] any
  building [stationary structure] as directed by the authority
  establishing the branch office. The polling place may not be
  located in a tent or other temporary movable structure or a parking
  garage, parking lot, or similar facility designed primarily for
  motor vehicles in the general election for state and county
  officers, general primary election, or runoff primary election.
  Ropes or other suitable objects may be used at the polling place to
  ensure compliance with Section 62.004. Persons who are not
  expressly permitted by law to be in a polling place shall be
  excluded from the polling place to the extent practicable.
         SECTION 3.18.  Section 124.002, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (c) to read as follows:
         (c)  Voting system ballots may not be arranged in a manner
  that allows a political party's candidates to be selected in one
  motion or gesture.
         SECTION 3.19.  Subchapter A, Chapter 125, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 125.0071 to read as follows:
         Sec. 125.0071.  VOTER ALLOWED TO CAST BALLOT AT ANY TIME. A
  voting machine or ballot marking device must allow a voter the
  option to cast or complete the voter's ballot without voting on all
  races or measures if the voter affirmatively chooses to do so.
         SECTION 3.20.  Subchapter A, Chapter 127, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 127.008 to read as follows:
         Sec. 127.008.  ELECTRONIC DEVICES IN CENTRAL COUNTING
  STATION. (a) A counting station manager and the presiding judge of
  the counting station shall develop a protocol under which any
  electronic device inside a central counting station that is
  necessary to count votes is equipped with software that tracks all
  input and activity on the electronic device.
         (b)  The counting station manager and the presiding judge of
  the counting station shall ensure that the input and activity
  tracked by the software is printed and delivered to the secretary of
  state not later than the fifth day after vote counting is complete.
         SECTION 3.21.  Section 127.1232, Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         Sec. 127.1232.  SECURITY OF VOTED BALLOTS. (a) The general
  custodian of election records shall post a licensed peace officer
  [guard] to ensure the security of ballot boxes containing voted
  ballots throughout the period of tabulation at the central counting
  station.
         (b)  The general custodian of election records may implement
  a video surveillance system that retains a record of all areas
  containing voted ballots from the time the voted ballots are
  delivered to the central counting station until the canvass of
  precinct election returns.  The video may be made available to the
  public by a livestream.
         (c)  The video recorded is an election record under Section
  1.012 and shall be retained by the general custodian of election
  records until the end of the calendar year in which an election is
  held or until an election contest filed in the county has been
  resolved, whichever is later.
         SECTION 3.22.  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 a paper record; or
               (2)  produces a paper record by which a voter can verify
  that the voter's ballot will be counted accurately.
         (b)  Except as provided by Subsection (e), 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)  Except for a recount under Title 13, the electronic vote
  is the official record of the ballot. For a recount of ballots cast
  on a system involving direct recording electronic voting machines,
  the paper record is the official record of the vote cast.
         (d)  An authority that purchased a voting system other than
  an auditable voting system after September 1, 2016, and before
  September 1, 2021, may use available federal funding and, if
  federal funding is not available, available state funding to
  retrofit the purchased voting system as an auditable voting system
  in accordance with the following schedule:
               (1)  if the voting system was retrofitted as 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 retrofitting 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 retrofitted as 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 retrofitting reimbursed under this
  section.
         (e)  Subsections (a)-(c) do not apply to an election held
  before September 1, 2026.
         SECTION 3.23.  Section 129.023, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subsections (b-2) and (c-1) to read as follows:
         (b-2)  If the test is being conducted for an election in
  which a county election board has been established under Section
  51.002, the general custodian of election records shall notify each
  member of the board of the test at least 48 hours before the date of
  the test. If the county election board chooses to witness the test,
  each member shall sign the statement required by Subsection (e)(1).
         (c-1)  A test conducted under this section must also require
  the general custodian of election records to demonstrate, using a
  representative sample of voting system equipment, that the source
  code of the equipment has not been altered.
         SECTION 3.24.  Section 216.001, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 216.001.  APPLICABILITY OF CHAPTER. (a) Except as
  provided by Subsection (b), this [This] chapter applies only to an
  election that results in a tie vote as provided by Sections
  2.002(i), 2.023(b) and (c), and 2.028.
         (b)  If the results of an election show that the number of
  votes cast in an election precinct exceeds the number of registered
  voters in the precinct, the authority designated under Section
  212.026 shall initiate an automatic recount for that precinct in
  accordance with this chapter.
         SECTION 3.25.  Section 81.032, Local Government Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 81.032.  ACCEPTANCE OF DONATIONS AND BEQUESTS. (a) The
  commissioners court may accept a donation of labor or services,
  gift, grant, donation, bequest, or devise of money or other
  property on behalf of the county, including a donation under
  Chapter 38, Government Code, for the purpose of performing a
  function conferred by law on the county or a county officer.
         (b)  The commissioners court may not accept a donation
  described in Subsection (a) of over $1,000 for use in administering
  elections without the written consent of the secretary of state.
         (c)  The secretary of state may grant consent under
  Subsection (b) only if:
               (1)  the secretary consults with the governor, the
  lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the house of
  representatives on the proposed donation; and
               (2)  the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the
  speaker of the house of representatives unanimously agree to the
  secretary's grant of consent.
         SECTION 3.26.  The changes in law made by this article apply
  only to an election ordered on or after the effective date of this
  Act.  An election ordered before the effective date of this Act is
  governed by the law in effect when the election was ordered, and the
  former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
  ARTICLE 4. ENFORCEMENT
         SECTION 4.01.  Subchapter E, Chapter 31, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Sections 31.126 and 31.127 to read as follows:
         Sec. 31.126.  RESTRICTION ON ELIGIBILITY. (a) In this
  section, "election official" means:
               (1)  a county clerk;
               (2)  a permanent or temporary deputy county clerk;
               (3)  an elections administrator;
               (4)  a permanent or temporary employee of an elections
  administrator;
               (5)  an election judge;
               (6)  an alternate election judge;
               (7)  an early voting clerk;
               (8)  a deputy early voting clerk;
               (9)  an election clerk;
               (10)  the presiding judge of an early voting ballot
  board;
               (11)  the alternate presiding judge of an early voting
  ballot board;
               (12)  a member of an early voting ballot board;
               (13)  the chair of a signature verification committee;
               (14)  the vice chair of a signature verification
  committee;
               (15)  a member of a signature verification committee;
               (16)  the presiding judge of a central counting
  station;
               (17)  the alternate presiding judge of a central
  counting station;
               (18)  a central counting station manager;
               (19)  a central counting station clerk;
               (20)  a tabulation supervisor; and
               (21)  an assistant to a tabulation supervisor.
         (b)  A person may not serve as an election official if the
  person has been finally convicted of an offense under Section
  33.061.
         Sec. 31.127.  CIVIL PENALTY. (a) In this section, "election
  official" has the meaning assigned by Section 31.126.
         (b)  An election official may be liable to this state for a
  civil penalty if the official:
               (1)  is employed by or is an officer of this state or a
  political subdivision of this state; and
               (2)  violates a provision of this code.
         (c)  A civil penalty imposed under this section may include
  termination of the person's employment and loss of the person's
  employment benefits.
         SECTION 4.02.  Section 33.051, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (g) to read as follows:
         (g)  An election officer commits an offense if the officer
  knowingly refuses to accept a watcher for service whose acceptance
  is required by this code. An offense under this section is a Class A
  misdemeanor.
         SECTION 4.03.  Subchapter C, Chapter 33, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 33.062 to read as follows:
         Sec. 33.062.  INJUNCTIVE RELIEF. A watcher, or the
  appointing authority for a watcher, is entitled to injunctive
  relief under Section 273.081 to enforce this chapter, including
  issuance of temporary orders.
         SECTION 4.04.  Section 87.0431(b), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (b)  The early voting clerk shall, not later than the 30th
  day after election day, deliver notice to the attorney general,
  including certified copies of the carrier envelope and
  corresponding ballot application, of any ballot rejected because:
               (1)  the voter was deceased;
               (2)  the voter already voted in person in the same
  election;
               (3)  the signatures on the carrier envelope and ballot
  application were not executed by the same person;
               (4)  the carrier envelope certificate lacked a witness
  signature; [or]
               (5)  the carrier envelope certificate was improperly
  executed by an assistant; or
               (6)  any form of voter fraud was committed.
         SECTION 4.05.  Section 232.006(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  The venue of an election contest for a statewide office
  is in Travis County or any county where a contestee resided at the
  time of the election. For purposes of this section, a contestee's
  residence is determined under Section 411.0257, Government Code.
         SECTION 4.06.  Chapter 232, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subchapter C to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER C. CONTEST INVOLVING ALLEGED FRAUD
         Sec. 232.061.  PETITION ALLEGING FRAUD. This subchapter
  applies to an election contest in which the contestant alleges in
  the petition that an opposing candidate, an agent of the opposing
  candidate, or a person acting on behalf of the opposing candidate
  with the candidate's knowledge committed election fraud under any
  of the following sections of this code:
               (1)  Section 13.007;
               (2)  Section 64.012;
               (3)  Section 64.036;
               (4)  Section 84.003;
               (5)  Section 84.0041;
               (6)  Section 86.0051;
               (7)  Section 86.006;
               (8)  Section 86.010; or
               (9)  Section 276.013.
         Sec. 232.062.  EVIDENTIARY STANDARD. A contestant must
  prove an allegation described by Section 232.061 by a preponderance
  of the evidence.
         Sec. 232.063.  CIVIL PENALTY. (a) If the court in its
  judgment finds that the contestee, an agent of the contestee, or a
  person acting on behalf of the contestee with the contestee's
  knowledge committed one or more violations of a section described
  by Section 232.061, the contestee is liable to this state for a
  civil penalty of $1,000 for each violation.
         (b)  A penalty collected under this section by the attorney
  general shall be deposited in the state treasury to the credit of
  the general revenue fund.
         Sec. 232.064.  ATTORNEY'S FEES. In an election contest to
  which this subchapter applies, the court may award reasonable
  attorney's fees to the prevailing party.
         SECTION 4.07.  (a) The changes in law made by this article
  apply only to an election contest for which the associated election
  occurred after the effective date of this Act.
         (b)  The changes in law made by this article apply only to an
  election ordered on or after the effective date of this Act.  An
  election ordered before the effective date of this Act is governed
  by the law in effect when the election was ordered, and the former
  law is continued in effect for that purpose.
  ARTICLE 5. REPEALER AND EFFECTIVE DATE
         SECTION 5.01.  Section 85.062(e), Election Code, is
  repealed.
         SECTION 5.02.  The secretary of state is required to
  implement Section 86.015, Election Code, as added by 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 Section 86.015, Election Code, using
  other appropriations available for that purpose.
         SECTION 5.03.  Subject to Section 5.02 of this Act, this Act
  takes effect September 1, 2021.
 
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