HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
NOTICE OF FORMAL REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
Due to the ongoing pandemic and the uncertainty of scheduling interim hearings, the Committee on Elections requests written submissions from interested parties for assigned Interim Charges. Please send your submissions, via email, to the committee at Teri.Avery_HC@house.texas.gov. Submissions are due by Friday, September 18, 2020.
Submissions should be in Word format and no longer than five (5) pages in length for each charge. The page limit is inclusive of any photos, graphs, spreadsheets, charts, etc. the submitter chooses to include.
Submissions shall include the submitter’s name, organization or entity if applicable, mailing address, email, and telephone number. All submissions will be circulated to each Member of the Committee after the deadline. A copy of received comments will be made available on the Committee website.
The Committee seeks submissions on the Interim Charges listed below:
1. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 86th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including the following:
• HB 933, which requires election information to be posted on the Secretary of State's (SOS) and each county's internet website. Monitor the costs associated with implementing the legislation. Work with the SOS to determine which office elections should be included in the website postings based on costs and popularity of the office.
• HB 1421, which strengthens the cybersecurity of the state's election infrastructure. Review the program required under the bill to train county election officers in the best practices for identifying and reducing cybersecurity threats.
• HB 2504, which modifies ballot access requirements for non-major party nominees. Review the provision requiring the SOS to establish rules implementing the fees and petitions.
• HB 4130, which requires the SOS to develop procedures for adequately certifying electronic poll books. Review the provision requiring the secretary of state to adopt rules mandating real-time updates for electronic poll book use during the early voting period or under the countywide polling place program. Monitor and report on countywide polling. Examine the number and location of polling places, polling booths, and wait times for voting.
2. Make recommendations for establishing best practices for conducting an election during a declared disaster. Examine model legislation and statutes from other states pertaining to voting during a declared disaster when polls are inaccessible.
3. Evaluate election laws with the purpose of strengthening voter integrity and fair elections. Perform an in-depth study of the voter registration processes and explore whether centralizing voter registration would be more effective than today's processes. Consider ways to improve voter list maintenance and study the volunteer deputy registrar process and voter registration procedures in other states. Include in the evaluation a review of the state's curbside voting protocols and identify processes to improve the efficiency, privacy, and security of curbside voting.