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  H.B. No. 719
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to polling places for certain elections.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter A, Chapter 43, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 43.007 to read as follows:
         Sec. 43.007.  COUNTYWIDE POLLING PLACE PROGRAM. (a)  The
  secretary of state shall implement a program to allow each
  commissioners court participating in the program to eliminate
  county election precinct polling places and establish countywide
  polling places for:
               (1)  each general election for state and county
  officers;
               (2)  each countywide election held on the uniform
  election date in May;
               (3)  each election on a proposed constitutional
  amendment; and
               (4)  each election of a political subdivision located
  in the county that is held jointly with an election described by
  Subdivision (1), (2), or (3).
         (b)  The commissioners court of a county that desires to
  participate in the program authorized by this section shall hold a
  public hearing on the county's participation in the program. The
  commissioners court shall submit a transcript or electronic
  recording of the public comments made at the hearing to the
  secretary of state. A county that has previously participated in a
  similar program and held a public hearing on the county's
  participation in that program is not required to hold a hearing
  under this subsection.
         (c)  In conducting the program, the secretary of state shall
  provide for an audit of the direct recording electronic voting
  units before and after the election, and during the election to the
  extent such an audit is practicable.
         (d)  The secretary of state shall select to participate in
  the program each county that:
               (1)  has held a public hearing under Subsection (b);
               (2)  has submitted documentation listing the steps
  taken to solicit input on participating in the program by
  organizations or persons who represent the interests of voters;
               (3)  has implemented a computerized voter registration
  list that allows an election officer at the polling place to verify
  that a voter has not previously voted in the election;
               (4)  uses direct recording electronic voting machines;
  and
               (5)  is determined by the secretary of state to have the
  appropriate technological capabilities.
         (e)  Each countywide polling place must allow a voter to vote
  in the same elections in which the voter would be entitled to vote
  in the county election precinct in which the voter resides.
         (f)  In selecting countywide polling places, a county must
  adopt a methodology for determining where each polling place will
  be located. The total number of countywide polling places may not
  be less than:
               (1)  except as provided by Subdivision (2), 50 percent
  of the number of precinct polling places that would otherwise be
  located in the county for that election; or
               (2)  for an election held in the first year in which the
  county participates in the program, 65 percent of the number of
  precinct polling places that would otherwise be located in the
  county for that election.
         (g)  A county participating in the program must establish a
  plan to provide notice informing voters of the changes made to the
  locations of polling places under the program. The plan must
  require that notice of the location of the nearest countywide
  polling place be posted on election day at each polling place used
  in the previous general election for state and county officers that
  is not used as a countywide polling place.
         (h)  In adopting a methodology under Subsection (f) or
  creating the plan under Subsection (g), the county shall solicit
  input from organizations or persons located within the county who
  represent minority voters.
         (i)  The secretary of state may only select to participate in
  the program three counties with a population of 100,000 or more and
  two counties with a population of less than 100,000.
         (j)  Not later than January 1 of each odd-numbered year, the
  secretary of state shall file a report with the legislature. The
  report must include any complaints or concerns regarding a specific
  election that have been filed with the office of the secretary of
  state before the preparation of the report and any available
  information about voter turnout and waiting times at the polling
  places. The report may include the secretary of state's
  recommendations on the future use of countywide polling places and
  suggestions for statutory amendment regarding the use of countywide
  polling places.
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter E, Chapter 172, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 172.127 to read as follows:
         Sec. 172.127.  CONTENT OF SIGN USED TO IDENTIFY POLLING
  PLACE LOCATION. (a) This section applies only to a polling place
  used to hold an election for more than one political party.
         (b)  A sign used to indicate the location of a polling place
  for a primary election or a primary runoff election must either:
               (1)  not contain the name of, or symbol representing,
  any political party that is holding an election at the polling
  place; or
               (2)  contain each name of, or each symbol representing,
  a political party that is holding an election at the polling place.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2009.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 719 was passed by the House on April
  15, 2009, by the following vote:  Yeas 147, Nays 0, 1 present, not
  voting; and that the House concurred in Senate amendments to H.B.
  No. 719 on May 29, 2009, by the following vote:  Yeas 142, Nays 0, 1
  present, not voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 719 was passed by the Senate, with
  amendments, on May 26, 2009, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays
  0.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate   
  APPROVED: __________________
                  Date       
   
           __________________
                Governor