Legislators strike down just-passed mail-in voter rules

House Bill 658, which placed an extra burden on nursing home residents and elections administrators throughout Texas, is set to be repealed by a bill signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on Aug. 11.

HB 658 was put through in the regular session and started as a bill to address voters who have trouble waiting in lines at polling locations because of a disability or health concerns. It was in the last few days of the session that the bill changed to add language which said if five or more applications for ballot-by-mail were received from a residential care facility with more than 10 beds, then an election official must show up in person.

Under newly passed Senate Bill 5, HB 658 would be repealed and there will be an increase in the penalty for election fraud. The bill will not go into effect until Dec. 1, 2017, which makes the Young County constitutional amendment election in November still under HB 658, Young County Elections Administrator Lauren Sullivan said.

“It did repeal, but it doesn’t go into effect until Dec. 1, so the November constitutional election we will still have to go to probably just to Brookdale is what it looks like right now because they are the only ones at this point meeting the requirements and that may change if I get more than five applications from any of the other nursing homes,” Sullivan said.

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