Opinion: Canyon Lake’s Rep. Biedermann Busts ‘Myths’ About HB 3
by Rep. Kyle Biedermann, R-73
Texas House of Representatives
House Democrats are as good about sowing disinformation on election reform as they are at spreading COVID-19 all over Washington. Complicit in this campaign of dishonesty is the leftist media.
Myths include: Texas House Bill 3 (HB 3) places unreasonable barriers for voters with special needs; limits the available time for the electorate to vote; and places arduous restrictions on mail-in ballots.
However, the facts paint a much different picture. HB 3 makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat.
The written language does not change the current law that allows for elderly or disabled individuals to vote from their vehicle. In fact, HB 3 preserves the ability of such voters to have ballots delivered to their vehicle, and enhances current law by allowing voters to receive assistance with the reading and marking of their ballots.
HB 3 also expands eligible hours counties may elect to start early voting by providing a 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. timeframe. Furthermore, the bill mandates that counties must ensure a nine-hour window for early voting, a one-hour expansion from current law. It is pertinent to mention that under current statute, all employers must allow their employees to vote on election day, or they will be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor.
HB 3 eliminates the practice of mailing unsolicited ballot applications. Currently, public officials can solicit, distribute, or authorize public funds to facilitate third-party distribution of unsolicited mail ballot applications. Harris County sent applications to all 2.4 million registered voters in 2020.
It creates confusion for voters who did not want to vote by mail and leaves an opening for bad actors to steal ballots or double vote. The only people who should receive these applications are the people who requested them. This legislation closes this loophole and safeguards our absentee ballot process.
In tandem with eliminating unsolicited ballot applications, HB 3 introduces an ID requirement to vote by mail. Our state—and several others across the country—have seen tremendous success with requiring an ID to vote in person.
To create uniformity and decrease the potential for fraud, it’s important that we extend that same requirement to ballots sent by mail. This legislation requires a government-issued ID or Social Security number to be included in applications and mail-in ballots to ensure that ballot is sent to the person who requested it.
Finally, HB 3 seeks to crack down on vote harvesting, which is the practice of an individual or group being paid to collect large quantities of ballots. This method of ballot collection creates a great deal of distrust, as the voter cannot be sure if their ballot made it to the voting site. HB 3 prohibits ballot harvesting and makes violators subject to felony prosecution to increase ballot security.
The integrity of our elections has sustained immense criticism and doubt in recent months, and for good reason. Local election officials employed unprecedented voting measures during COVID-19 under the guise of safety, with no regard to ballot security.
This fostered skepticism of our free and fair elections, and demands a thoughtful and uniform response. Failing to acknowledge the damaged reputation of our state’s elections will ensure the exact thing Democrats claim to detest – decreased voter turn out.
It is the legislature’s job to ensure one person gets one vote. No more, no less.
(To read a rebuttal to this Opinion piece, click here.)