'I know this is your first session': Texas Democrat knocks GOP sponsor of targeted election bill
A Democratic lawmaker in Texas is speaking out against a Republican-sponsored piece of legislation that would give secretaries of state the ability to redo elections in Harris County, a metropolitan area where Democratic candidates performed substantially well during the midterm elections.
According to NBC News, the bill passed the Texas Senate on Tuesday, May 2 and is now in the hands of the state's House of Representatives.
Per the news outlet: "If it is enacted, it would allow the secretary of state to toss out election results in the state's largest county and call a new vote if there is 'good cause' to believe that at least 2% of polling places ran out of usable ballots during voting hours."
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"The bill would apply only to counties with populations greater than 2.7 million, effectively singling out Harris County, which is home to Houston and has by far the largest population in the state, at nearly 5 million," the report also notes. "In recent decades, Harris County has become more Democratic."
Defending the bill, Texas State Sen. Mayes Middleton (R-11th District) has argued that the initiative "would provide a remedy for 'systemic ballot paper denial.'"
"We had 253 counties that had no issues, really, with ballot paper. We had one that did," Middleton said Monday in a speech on the Senate floor. "This is an important accountability tool."
Although Texas State Senator Borris Miles (D-13th District) admitted that there were some election-related problems during the last election cycle, Texas Democratic State Sen. Sarah Eckhardt criticized the bill as she noted some of the consequences that could arise as a result of it.
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Like Eckhardt, others have also raised concerns. Mimi Marziani, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, described the proposed piece of legislation as a "partisan power grab."
"It gives an unelected person the authority, without any procedural guardrails, to overturn an election when there are paper ballot issues," Marziani said. "It's very easy to see how this vast authority could be abused in a way that's profoundly undemocratic."
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