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                                                                  H.B. No. 2280




AN ACT
relating to the implementation of a statewide voter registration system as required by the federal Help America Vote Act. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Section 13.072(a), Election Code, is amended to read as follows: (a) Unless the registrar challenges the applicant [If the registrar determines that an application complies with Section 13.002 and indicates that the applicant is eligible for registration], the registrar shall approve the application if: (1) the registrar determines that an application complies with Section 13.002 and indicates that the applicant is eligible for registration; and (2) for an applicant who has not included a statement described by Section 13.002(c)(8)(C), the registrar verifies with the secretary of state: (A) the applicant's Texas driver's license number or number of a personal identification card issued by the Department of Public Safety; or (B) the last four digits of the applicant's social security number [unless the registrar challenges the applicant]. SECTION 2. Section 13.141, Election Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 13.141. REGISTRATION NUMBER. [(a) The registrar shall assign a registration number to each person to be registered as a voter. [(b)] The secretary of state shall [may] prescribe a uniform system for assigning voter registration numbers. [If a uniform system is not prescribed, the registrar shall use a system that promotes efficient and accurate administration of voter registration.] SECTION 3. Sections 15.021(d), (e), and (f), Election Code, are amended to read as follows: (d) A voter who continues to reside in the county in which the voter is registered may correct information under this section by digital transmission of the information under a program administered by the secretary of state and the Department of Information Resources. [The secretary of state, in conjunction with the Department of Information Resources, shall conduct a study to determine the feasibility of allowing voters to correct information under this section by digital transmission of the corrected information to the registrar.] (e) The [If the study determines it is feasible to allow the digital transmission of corrected information by the voter to the registrar, the corrected information may be submitted without: [(1) submitting a written, signed notice of the incorrect information and the corresponding correction under Subsection (a); and [(2) complying with Subsection (b). [(f) If the study determines that it is feasible to allow the digital transmission of corrected information by the voter to the registrar, the] secretary of state shall [may] adopt rules to: (1) approve technologies for submitting changes of registration information by digital transmission under this section; and (2) prescribe additional procedures as necessary to implement a system for the digital transmission of changes in registration information. SECTION 4. Section 16.001(c), Election Code, is amended to read as follows: (c) Once each week, on a day specified by the secretary of state [Not later than the 10th day of each month], the Bureau of Vital Statistics shall furnish to the secretary of state available information specified by the secretary relating to deceased residents of the state. Periodically, the secretary shall furnish to the appropriate voter registrars information obtained from the bureau that will assist in identifying the deceased registered voters of each county. SECTION 5. Section 16.003, Election Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 16.003. FELONY CONVICTION. [(a)] Each weekday [week, on a day specified by the secretary of state,] the Department of Public Safety is regularly open for business, the department shall: (1) prepare an abstract of each final judgment received by the department convicting a person 18 years of age or older who is a resident of the state of a felony; and [.] (2) [(b) The Department of Public Safety shall] file each abstract with the secretary of state [not later than one week following the week in which the abstract is prepared. The secretary of state shall file each abstract received under this subsection with the voter registrar of the person's county of residence not later than one week following the week in which the abstract is received under this subsection]. SECTION 6. Section 18.041, Election Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 18.041. ANNUAL REGISTRATION REPORT [STATEMENT]. (a) Each voting year, the registrar shall prepare a report [written statement] of the number of persons whose voter registrations in the county and in each county election precinct will be effective on January 1. (b) The secretary of state shall prescribe the categories of voters and computations required in the report [statement]. (c) The registrar shall retain a copy of the report [statement] on file as a registration record for two years. (d) The registrar shall file the report [statement] with the secretary of state not later than January 2. (e) The secretary of state shall retain the report [statement] on file for two years. SECTION 7. Section 18.061, Election Code, is amended by adding Subsection (e) to read as follows: (e) The secretary of state shall prescribe procedures to ensure that when a voter registers in another county, as determined under Section 16.031(a)(6), the statewide computerized voter registration list is updated to reflect the voter's registration in the new county. SECTION 8. Sections 20.065(b) and (c), Election Code, are amended to read as follows: (b) Each weekday the department is regularly open for business [Once each week, on a day specified by the secretary of state], the department shall electronically transfer to the secretary of state the name of each person who completes a voter registration application submitted to the department. The secretary shall prescribe procedures necessary to implement this subsection. (c) On the weekday the secretary of state is regularly open for business following [Not later than the seventh day after] the date the secretary [of state] receives information under Subsection (b), the secretary shall inform the appropriate voter registrar of the name of each person who completes a voter registration application submitted to the department. The registrar may verify that the registrar has received each application as indicated by the information provided by the secretary under this subsection. SECTION 9. Section 20.066, Election Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 20.066. REGISTRATION PROCEDURES [FOR CERTAIN POPULOUS COUNTIES]. (a) [This section applies unilaterally to a person who resides in a county with a population of 2.1 million or more and, if written request is made to the Department of Public Safety by the commissioners court, applies to a person who resides in a county with a population greater than 400,000 but less than 2.1 million. [(b)] If a person completes a voter registration application as provided by Section 20.063, the Department of Public Safety shall: (1) input the information provided on the application into the department's electronic data system; and (2) inform the applicant that the applicant's electronic signature provided to the department will be used for submitting the applicant's voter registration application. (b) [(c)] Not later than the fifth day after the date a person completes a voter registration application and provides an electronic signature to the department, the department shall electronically transfer the applicant's voter registration data, including the applicant's signature, to the secretary of state [voter registrar of the county in which the applicant resides. [(d) The voter registrar shall maintain a database approved by the secretary of state for receiving electronically transmitted registration applications under this section]. (c) [(e)] The secretary of state shall prescribe additional procedures as necessary to implement this section. (d) The procedures may allow: (1) the department to delay the implementation of the transmission of electronic signatures under this section until January 1, 2008, if the department determines that it lacks the proper equipment for making the transmission; and (2) a person to be registered without a signature if a delay is granted under Subdivision (1) and all other information required for registration has been submitted electronically under this section. (e) Subsection (d) and this subsection expire January 2, 2008. SECTION 10. This Act takes effect January 1, 2006. ______________________________ ______________________________ President of the Senate Speaker of the House I certify that H.B. No. 2280 was passed by the House on May 9, 2005, by a non-record vote. ______________________________ Chief Clerk of the House I certify that H.B. No. 2280 was passed by the Senate on May 25, 2005, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0. ______________________________ Secretary of the Senate APPROVED: _____________________ Date _____________________ Governor