Attorney General Ken Paxton today praised Chairman Phil King for his efforts in preserving Texas’ Voter ID law. On February 21, Senator Joan Huffman filed Senate Bill 5, which would provide for a declaration for voters who do not have and cannot reasonably obtain acceptable photo identification. Today, Chairman King filed the House of Representatives’ companion to SB 5, House Bill 2481.
“Election integrity is one of the most important functions of government, and Voter ID is an integral part of maintaining that integrity,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The updates to Voter ID that Chairman King proposes will make the changes necessary to comply with the 5th Circuit ruling while ensuring the integrity of the voting process. Chairman King’s leadership is critical to Texas’ ability to use its Voter ID law in the future.”
House Bill 2481, if passed, will make the following changes to the Voter ID statute:
- Allowing voters to cast a ballot if they have an approved secondary form of identification and execute a declaration indicating they are who they say they are and do not have and cannot reasonably obtain approved photo identification for one of several specified reasons.
- Allowing voters to use otherwise acceptable photo identification that is more than 60 days expired if they execute a declaration stating that they cannot obtain a new form of photo identification for one of the several specified reasons.
- Establishing a criminal penalty for knowingly making a false statement on the declaration as up to a third-degree felony.
- Allowing voters over age 70 to cast a ballot using expired, but otherwise acceptable, photo identification.
- Requiring the Secretary of State to establish a mobile program for issuing election identification certificates.
In the pending lawsuit challenging Texas’ Voter ID law, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) today also voluntarily dismissed its claim that the Texas law contained a discriminatory purpose. DOJ acknowledged the proposed legislation is a “significant development” that complies with the Fifth Circuit’s controlling instructions.
The bill is to be joint-authored by Chairs Charlie Geren, Jodie Laubenberg, Tan Parker and Representative Scott Sanford.