Sen. Bettencourt’s bills return Harris County Elections from EA back to Elected Officials passes
SB 1750 passes TX House & returns EA duties & power back to the County Tax-Assessor & County Clerk SB 1933 passes Texas House and Texas SOS has oversite of Elections back to Texas Senate
Austin, TX – Senator Paul Bettencourt’s (R-Houston) SB 1750, sponsored by Representative Briscoe Cain (R- Deer Park) in the Texas House of Representatives, passed out of the Texas House on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. SB 1750 will restore voter trust, accountability, and transparency in Harris County elections by returning the management of elections back to elected officials. “An appointed Elections Administrator that either couldn’t or wouldn’t get millions of sheets of ballot paper from the warehouse to the polls for voters to vote on, on November 8th, will be gone by September 1st,” said Senator Bettencourt. “Now voters in Harris County can be assured that the officials running their elections are elected and accountable to the public, with expected final passage of SB 1750,” added Senator Bettencourt.
SB 1750 will return power and duties of the Harris County Elections Administrator to the County Tax Assessor-Collector and County Clerk. Under SB 1750, the County Tax Assessor-Collector will serve as the voter registrar and the election administration duties will revert to the County Clerk. With elections under two different elected officials, the cost of an independent department will be spread among the two offices providing professionalism, consistency, stability, and better customer service for elections. Senator Bettencourt served as the Tax Assessor-Collector with County Clerk Kaufman for 10 years.
“Both Elections Administrators that were appointed by the Harris County Judge bombed their elections. In 2022, the former Harris County Election Administrator ‘found’ 10,000 votes and released a statement at 10:30 p.m. on a Saturday night that led to her resignation. Then, the current EA either wouldn’t or couldn’t get millions of paper ballots out of the warehouse and to the polls with thousands of voters being turned away for lack of ballots. And after six months, the current EA still hasn’t publicly explained what happened,” stated Senator Bettencourt.
SB 1933, sponsored by House Rep. Tom Oliverson, grants authority of administrative oversight over a county. This will allow the Secretary of State’s office to review complaints from candidates, county state party chairs, presiding or alternate judges, and the head of a specific-purpose political committee. In the complaint, if they find merit SOS can investigate using the authority of administrative oversight. An amendment limited this to Harris County only.
“SB 1933 will ensure the failures, or the fiasco of the general election never occurs again with the Texas Secretary of State oversight of the election process, if necessary,” Senator Bettencourt concluded with. “A late amendment was added to SB 1933 in the Texas House limiting it to Harris County, this will be reviewed in the Texas Senate.”
SB 1750 now heads back to the Texas Senate for Senator Bettencourt’s review and or concurrence.