May 15, 2019      5:41 PM
House Elections Committee seems on track to vote tonight on upping penalties for alleged ballot fraud
Chair Klick takes heat for cutting testimony short on SB9; most in GOP argue for a paper trail and stiffer penalties for ballot “fraud,” Democrats argue it is voter suppression plain and simple
In one of the more heated debates of the closing
weeks of the legislative session, a new version of SB 9 brought out hundreds
of witnesses to the House Elections Committee Wednesday as the chair cut short registration
for testimony and it was unclear whether a vote would held tonight.
The vast majority of those who registered
before 8:30am, when registration ended at Chair Stephanie Klick’s direction, were in opposition to the bill which
has been labeled by Democrats as an attack on access to the polls and an
attempt to suppress voter turnout.
Conservative supporters like Sen. Bryan Hughes R-Mineola, say it’s aimed
at stopping those who cheat in elections by making it a state jail felony to forge
a ballot. Critics say that amounts to “criminalizing mistakes.”
The hearing started off confrontational as Chair
Klick laid out the bill while seeming to anticipate several lines of criticism.
By Andrew Turner