Official Bill Analysis of the Texas Voter I.D. Bill (SB 14)

Starting today, the Texas State Senate is meeting as a committee to consider Senate Bill 14, also known as the Voter ID Bill.  Included below is the full text of the Official Bill Analysis, as prepared by the staff of the Texas Legislature:

 

The key provision of the bill amends Section 63.0101 of the Texas Election Code to read as follows:

Sec. 63.0101.  DOCUMENTATION OF PROOF OF IDENTIFICATION.

 

The following documentation is an acceptable form of photo identification under this chapter:

 

(1)  a driver’s license or personal identification card issued to the person by the Department of Public Safety that has not expired;

 

(2)  a United States military identification card that contains the person’s photograph that has not expired;
  
(3)  a United States citizenship certificate issued to the person that contains the person’s photograph; or

  

(4)  a United States passport issued to the person that has not expired.

(Full text of bill here)

 

The full bill analysis, as prepared by legislative staff (via Texas Legislature Online) reads as follows:

 

AUTHOR’S / SPONSOR’S STATEMENT OF INTENT

Under current law, to vote a regular ballot, voters are only required to present a voter registration certificate to a poll worker. While this practice attempts to ensure that only registered voters receive a regular ballot on Election Day, it leaves a potential loophole for fraud.  With the current process, no statutory standards exist to verify the identity of individuals at the polling place when they present a voter registration certificate. On Election Day, an election judge must accept a voter if a voter registration certificate is valid, even if the judge suspects that the voter is not the person listed on the certificate.
 
As proposed, S.B. 14 amends current law relating to requirements to vote, including presenting proof of identification, and provides criminal penalties.

 

 

RULEMAKING AUTHORITY

 

This bill does not expressly grant any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, institution, or agency.

 

 

SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS

 

SECTION 1.  Amends Subchapter A, Chapter 15, Election Code, by adding Section 15.005, as follows:

 

Sec. 15.005. NOTICE OF IDENTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS.  (a) Requires the voter registrar of each county (registrar) to provide notice of the identification requirements for voting prescribed by Chapter 63 (Accepting Voter) and a detailed description of those requirements with each voter registration certificate issued under Section 13.142 (Initial Registration Certificate) or renewal registration certificate issued under Section 14.001 (Renewal Registration Certificate).

 

(b) Requires the secretary of state to prescribe the wording of the notice to be included on the certificate under this section.

 

SECTION 2.  Amends Section 15.022(a), Election Code, as follows:

 

(a) Requires the registrar to make the appropriate corrections in the registration records, including, if necessary, deleting a voter’s name from the suspense list:

 

(1) after receipt of a notice of a change in registration information under Section 15.021 (Notice Of Change In Registration Information By Voter);

 

(2) after receipt of a voter’s reply to a notice of investigation given under Section 16.033 (Cancellation Following Investigation By Registrar);

 

(3) after receipt of a registration omissions list and any affidavits executed under Section 63.006 (Voter With Correct Certificate Who Is Not On List), rather than Section 63.007 (Voter With Incorrect Certificate Who Is Not On List), following an election;

(4) after receipt of a voter’s statement of residence executed under Section 63.0011 (Statement Of Residence Required);

 

(5) before the effective date of the abolishment of a county election precinct or a change in its boundary;

 

(6) after receipt of United States Postal Service information indicating an address reclassification;

 

(7) after receipt of a voter’s response under Section 15.053 (Response To Confirmation Notice); or

 

(8) after receipt of a registration application or change of address under Chapter 20 (Voter Registration Agencies).

 

SECTION 3. Amends Subchapter A, Chapter 31, Election Code, by adding Section 31.012, as follows:

 

Sec. 31.012. VOTER IDENTIFICATION EDUCATION.  (a) Requires the secretary of state and the registrar of each county that maintains a website to provide notice of the identification requirements for voting prescribed by Chapter 63 on each entity’s respective website.  Requires the secretary of state to prescribe the wording of the notice to be included on the websites.

 

(b) Requires the secretary of state to conduct a statewide effort to educate voters regarding the identification requirements for voting prescribed by Chapter 63.

 

SECTION 4. Amends Section 32.111, Election Code, by adding Subsection (c), as follows:

 

(c) Requires that the training standards adopted under Subsection (a) (relating to a requirement that the secretary of state adopt standards of training in election law and procedure for presiding or alternate election judges, develop materials for a standardized curriculum for that training, and distribute the materials to certain entities that hold certain elections) include provisions on the acceptance and handling of the identification presented by a voter to an election officer under Section 63.001 (Regular Procedure For Accepting Voter).

 

SECTION 5. Amends Section 32.114(a), Election Code, to require each election clerk to complete the part of the training program relating to the acceptance and handling of the identification presented by a voter to an election officer under Section 63.001.

 

SECTION 6. Amends Chapter 62, Election Code, by adding Section 62.016, as follows:

 

Sec. 62.016. NOTICE OF ACCEPTABLE IDENTIFICATION OUTSIDE POLLING PLACES.  Requires the presiding judge to post in a prominent place on the outside of each polling location a list of the acceptable forms of identification.  Requires that the notice and list be printed using a font that is at least 24-point.

 

SECTION 7. Amends Section 63.001, Election Code, by amending Subsections (b), (c), (d), and (f) and adding Subsections (g) and (h), as follows:

 

(b) Requires a voter, except as provided by Subsection (h), on offering to vote, to present to an election officer at the polling place one form of identification listed in Section 63.0101 (Documentation Of Proof Of Identification), rather than the voter’s voter registration certificate.

 

(c) Requires an election officer, on presentation of the documentation required by Subsection (b), rather than on presentation of a registration certificate, to determine whether the voter’s name on the documentation, rather than on the registration certificate, is on the list of registered voters for the precinct.

 

(d) Requires that the voter be accepted for voting, if the voter’s name is on the precinct list of registered voters and the voter’s identity can be verified from the documentation presented under Subsection (b).

 

(f) Requires an election officer, after determining whether to accept a voter, to return the voter’s documentation, rather than the voter’s registration certificate, to the voter.

 

(g) Provides that if the requirements for identification prescribed by Subsection (b) are not met, the voter may be accepted for provisional voting only under Section 63.011 (Provisional Voting).  Requires an election officer, for a voter who is not accepted for voting under this section, to:

 

(1) inform the voter of the voter’s right to cast a provisional ballot under Section 63.011; and

 

(2) provide the voter with written information, in a form prescribed by the secretary of state, that:

 

(A) lists the requirements for identification;

 

(B) states the procedure for presenting identification under Section 65.0541;

 

(C) includes a map showing the location where identification must be presented; and

 

(D) includes notice that even if all procedures are followed, there is no guarantee a provisional ballot will be accepted.

 

(h) Provides that the requirements for identification prescribed by Subsection (b) do not apply to a voter who presents the voter’s voter registration certificate on offering to vote and was 70 years of age or older on January 1, 2012, as indicated by the date of birth on the voter’s voter registration certificate.

 

SECTION 8. Amends Section 63.0011(a), Election Code, to require the election officer, if the voter’s address is omitted from the precinct list under Section 18.005(c) (relating to the exclusion, under certain conditions, from the original or supplemental list of registered voters the residence address of a voter who is a federal judge, a state judge, or the spouse of a federal judge or state judge), to ask the voter if the voter’s residence, if listed on identification presented by the voter under Section 63.001(b), rather than as listed on the voter’s voter registration certificate, is current and whether the voter has changed residence within the county.

 

SECTION 9. Amends Chapter 63, Election Code, by adding Section 63.0012, as follows:

 

Sec. 63.0012. NOTICE OF IDENTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS TO CERTAIN VOTERS. (a) Requires an election officer to distribute written notice of the identification that will be required to vote in elections held after January 1, 2012, and information on obtaining identification without a fee under Section 521.422 (Personal Identification Certificate Fee), Transportation Code, to each voter who, when offering to vote, presents a form of identification that will not be sufficient for acceptance as a voter under this chapter beginning with those elections.

 

(b) Requires the secretary of state to prescribe the wording of the notice and establish guidelines for distributing the notice.

 

(c) Provides that this section expires on September 1, 2013.

 

SECTION 10. Amends Section 63.006, Election Code, as follows:

 

Sec. 63.006. New heading: VOTER WITH REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION WHO IS NOT ON LIST. (a) Requires that a voter who, when offering to vote, presents the documentation required under Section 63.001(b), rather than presents a voter registration certificate indicating that the voter is currently registered in the precinct in which the voter is offering to vote, but whose name is not on the precinct list of registered voters, be accepted for voting if the voter also presents a voter registration certificate indicating that the voter is currently registered in the precinct in which the voter is offering to vote, or in a different precinct from the one in which the voter is offering to vote and the voter executes an affidavit stating that the voter is a resident of the precinct in which the voter is offering to vote or is otherwise entitled by law to vote in that precinct or was a resident of the precinct in which the voter is offering to vote at the time the information on the voter’s residence address was last provided to the voter registrar, did not deliberately provide false information to secure registration in a precinct in which the voter does not reside, and is voting only once in the election.

 

(b) Requires an election officer, after the voter is accepted, to indicate beside the voter’s name on the poll list that the voter was accepted under this section and, if applicable, enter on the registration omissions list the precinct of the voter’s registration as indicated by the voter’s registration certificate.

 

SECTION 11. Amends Section 63.009, Election Code, as follows:

 

Sec. 63.009. VOTER WITHOUT CERTIFICATE WHO IS NOT ON LIST.  Deletes the existing designation of Subsection (a).  Requires that a voter who does not present a voter registration certificate when offering to vote, and whose name is not on the list of registered voters for the precinct in which the voter is offering to vote, be accepted for provisional voting if the voter executes an affidavit in accordance with Section 63.011, and deletes an exception under existing Subsection (b).  Deletes existing Subsection (b) providing that, if an election officer can determine from the voter registrar that the person is a registered voter of the county and the person presents proof of identification, the affidavits required by Sections 63.007 and 63.008 are substituted for the affidavit required by Section 63.011 in complying with that section, and requiring an election officer, after the voter is accepted under this subsection, to also indicate beside the voter’s name on the poll list that the voter was accepted under this section.

 

SECTION 12. Amends Section 63.0101, Election Code, as follows:

 

Sec. 63.0101. DOCUMENTATION OF PROOF OF IDENTIFICATION.  Provides that the following documentation is an acceptable form of photo identification under this chapter: a driver’s license or personal identification card issued to the person by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) that has not expired; a United States military identification card that contains the person’s photograph that has not expired; a United States citizenship certificate issued to the person that contains the person’s photograph; or a United States passport issued to the person that has not expired.  Deletes existing text providing that the following documentation is acceptable as proof of identification under this chapter: a driver’s license or personal identification card issued to the person by the DPS or a similar document issued to the person by an agency of another state, regardless of whether the license or card has expired; a form of identification containing the person’s photograph that establishes the person’s identity; a birth certificate or other document confirming birth that is admissible in a court of law and establishes the person’s identity; United States citizenship papers issued to the person; a United States passport issued to the person; official mail addressed to the person by name from a governmental entity; a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter; or any other form of identification prescribed by the secretary of state.

 

SECTION 13. Amends Sections 63.011(a) and (b), Election Code, as follows:

 

(a) Authorizes a person to whom Section 63.001(g) or 63.009, rather than Section 63.008(b) or 63.009(a), applies to cast a provisional ballot if the person executes an affidavit stating that the person is a registered voter in the precinct in which the person seeks to vote and is eligible to vote in the election.

 

(b) Requires that a form for an affidavit required by this section be printed on an envelope in which the provisional ballot voted by the person may be placed and include a space for entering the identification number of the provisional ballot voted by the person and a space for an election officer to indicate whether the person presented a form of identification described by Section 63.0101. 

 

SECTION 14. Amends Section 64.012(b), Election Code, to provide that an offense under this section is a felony of the second, rather than third, degree unless the person is convicted of an attempt.  Provides that in that case, the offense is a state jail felony, rather than a Class A misdemeanor.

 

SECTION 15. Amends Section 65.054(b), Election Code, to require, rather than authorize, that a provisional ballot be accepted if the early voting ballot board (board) determines, rather than only if the board determines, that from the information in the affidavit or contained in public records, the person is eligible to vote in the election and has not previously voted in that election and the person meets the identification requirements of Section 63.001(b) in the period prescribed under Section 65.0541.

 

SECTION 16. Amends Subchapter B, Chapter 65, Election Code, by adding Section 65.0541, as follows:

 

Sec. 65.0541. PRESENTATION OF IDENTIFICATION FOR CERTAIN PROVISIONAL BALLOTS.  (a) Authorizes a voter who is accepted for provisional voting under Section 63.011 because the voter does not meet the identification requirements of Section 63.001(b) to, not later than the sixth day after the date of the election, present proof of identification to the voter registrar for examination by the board.

 

(b)  Requires the secretary of state to prescribe procedures as necessary to implement this section.

 

SECTION 17. Amends Section 66.0241, Election Code, to require that Envelope no. 4 contain the precinct list of registered voters, the registration correction list, the registration omissions list, any statements of residence executed under Section 63.0011, and any affidavits executed under Section 63.006 or 63.011, rather than Section 63.007 or 63.011.

 

SECTION 18. Amends Section 521.422, Transportation Code, by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (d), as follows:

 

(a)  Provides that the fee for a personal identification certificate, except as provided under Subsection (d), is $15 for a person under 60 years of age, $5 for a person 60 years of age or older, and $20 for a person subject to the registration requirements under Chapter 62 (Sex Offender Registration Program), Code of Criminal Procedure.

 

(d) Prohibits DPS from collecting a fee for a personal identification certificate issued to a person who states that the person is obtaining the personal identification certificate for the purpose of satisfying Section 63.001(b), Election Code, and who is a registered voter in this state and presents a valid voter registration certificate, or who is eligible for registration under Section 13.001 (Eligibility For Registration), Election Code, and submits a registration application to DPS.

 

SECTION 19. Repealer, effective January 1, 2012: Sections 63.007 (Voter With Incorrect Certificate Who Is Not On List) and 63.008 (Voter Without Certificate Who Is On List), Election Code.

 

SECTION 20.  Requires the secretary of state, as soon as practicable after the effective date of this section, to adopt the training standards and develop the training materials required to implement the change in law made by this Act to Section 32.111 (Training Standards For Election Judges), Election Code.  Requires the county clerk of each county, as soon as practicable after the effective date of this section, to provide a session of training under Section 32.114 (Public County Training Program), Election Code, using the standards adopted and materials developed to implement the change in law made by this Act to Section 32.111, Election Code.

 

SECTION 21. Provides that the change in law made by this Act applies only to an offense committed on or after January 1, 2012.  Provides that an offense committed before January 1, 2012, is covered by the law in effect when the offense was committed and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.  Provides that for purposes of this section, an offense is committed before January 1, 2012, if any element of the offense occurs before that date.

 

SECTION 22. Authorizes state funds disbursed under Chapter 19 (Financing Voter Registration), Election Code, for the purpose of defraying expenses of the voter registrar’s office in connection with voter registration to also be used for additional expenses related to coordinating voter registration drives or other activities designed to expand voter registration.  Provides that this section expires January 1, 2013.

 

SECTION 23. (a) Effective date, except as provided by Subsection (b) of this section: January 1, 2012.

 

(b) Effective date, for the changes in law made by Sections 1, 3, 4, 5, 9, 20, and 22 of this Act: September 1, 2011.

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