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Senator Bettencourt & Chairman Hughes file Election Audit Bill to address Election Irregularities 

SB 1039 establishes a civil administrative review process to identify and remedy Election Irregularities Heritage Foundation says Texas leads nation in implementing common sense Election Audit procedures 

Austin, TX – Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) & Chairman Bryan Hughes (R-Tyler), Chairman of  the Senate Committee on State Affairs, filed Senate Bill 1039 to establish a civil administrative review  process to identify and improve access, security, processes, documentation, and accuracy to elections. “SB 1039 is just common-sense transparency legislation that increases the public’s confidence in  the election process as we can’t have anyone in an elections administration not answering  questions from the public.” Commented Senator Bettencourt. “This bill lets the public ask questions  and elected officials answer them just like what should be occurring to set up a civil discourse, just like it used to happen, and used to be the standard for best election practices.” He added.  

Senate Bill 1039 will provide a civil complaint procedure for Election Judges, Candidates, County Chair or  State Chair of a Political Party, Presiding Judge or Alternate Presiding Judge, and the head of a specific purpose political committee that supports or opposes a ballot measure to contact a county election  authority about identified Election Irregularities and receive a response. If after two questions and  answers, the inquirer is still not satisfied, the Election Irregularity may be referred to the Secretary of State who will determine if an audit is necessary. If the audit finds a violation, then the Secretary of State could  take necessary action up to assigning a conservator to manage that election authority. 

“Texas is leading the nation in implementing common sense, vitally-needed election audit  procedures to subject elections to the same types of audits that are common place in the  business and professional world. The state legislature’s latest proposal by Sen. Bettencourt, an  experienced former election official, would enhance state audits by providing the public with an  administrative process to answer questions about the election process. This is an important  development that will further enhance public confidence in the credibility of elections.” Said Hans  von Spakovsky, Manager, Election Law Reform Initiative & Senior Legal Fellow at Heritage Foundation. 

Voting Irregularities occur. For example, in the 2020 General Election 1,300 votes were found after the  election canvass in Williamson County and in another county election 579 people were registered at a  single-family residence/business address in Wichita Falls. In Harris County, the 22 election contests that  were filed earlier this year are directly from the unprecedented thousands of Election Irregularities  uncovered from the November 2022 General Election. “The Secretary of State’s Forensic Audit Division found 14 MBB’s (Mobile Ballot Boxes) with 184,999 votes that lacked chain of custody from the 2020 election. In fact, several MBB serial numbers were not the same as the ones used at  the polls. That audit led Secretary of State John Scott to release a letter to Harris County Elections  Administrator Clifford Tatum to ensure this problem did not reoccur in the 2022 election. That’s what election audits are all about!” Senator Bettencourt concluded.  

Senator Bettencourt is expected to file additional Election Integrity legislation.  

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