Honorable Robert Duncan, Chair, Senate Committee of the Whole Senate
John S O'Brien, Director, Legislative Budget Board
SB14 by Fraser (Relating to requirements to vote, including presenting proof of identification; providing criminal penalties.), As Introduced
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General Revenue Fund
The bill would require the voter registrar of each county to provide a notice of identification requirements for voting with each initial voter registration certificate or renewal registration certificate issued. The Secretary of State (SOS) and the voter registrar of each county that maintains a website would be required to post on their websites a notice of the identification requirements. SOS would be required to prescribe the wording of these notices. SOS would also be required to establish a statewide effort to educate voters regarding the identification requirements for voting.
The bill would require training standards to include instructions on the acceptance and handling of the identification presented by a voter to an election officer and each election clerk would be required to complete this training.
The presiding judge at each polling place would be required to post in a prominent location outside of the location a list of the acceptable forms of identification. The Secretary of State would be required to prescribe the wording for written notifications of the identification requirements to vote in elections after January 1, 2012 and election officers would be required to provide this written notification of voting identification requirements to voters who do not meet identification requirements.
The Department of Public Safety (DPS) would be prohibited from collecting a fee for a personal identification certificate issued to a person who states that they are obtaining the personal identification certificate to meet voting identification requirements and that person meets certain other voter registration criteria.
The bill would change an offense under this section after January 1, 2012 to a second degree felony from a third degree felony unless the person is convicted of an attempt, in which case, the offense would be a state jail felony instead of a Class A misdemeanor.
The Secretary of State would be required to prescribe procedures for voters who provisionally vote without proper identification to present proof of identification to the voter registrar not later than the sixth day after the date of the election.
The bill would repeal Sections 63.007 and 63.008 of the Election Code related to voters with incorrect certificates who are not on the voter list and voters without certificates who are not on the voter list.
The Secretary of State (SOS)
The Secretary of State (SOS)would be required to adopt the training standards and to develop training materials as soon as practicable after September 1, 2011. Each county clerk would be required to provide a session of training using the standards adopted by and the materials developed by SOS as soon as practicable as well.
The bill would expand the uses of state funds disbursed under Chapter 19 of the Election Code to include additional expenses related to coordinating voter registration drives or other activities designed to expand voter registration. This section would expire January 1, 2013.
Sections 1, 3, 4, 5, 9, 20, and 22 pertaining to providing notice of voter identification requirements, providing voter identification training, providing voter education to the public, and expanding the uses of voter registration funds would be effective September 1, 2011. The rest of the bill would be effective January 1, 2012.
The total fiscal impact of the bill is estimated to be $2 million for fiscal year 2012 out of the General Revenue Fund. This estimate includes $0.5 million to research and develop ways to inform the public of the new identification requirements. Additional costs are estimated to be $1.5 million for media advertisements: television ($750,000), radio ($300,000), print ($300,000), and internet ($150,000).
The Secretary of State would also be required to prescribe the wording for voter identification requirement notifications and to develop training materials on voter identification requirements. It is assumed that any fiscal implication associated with these responsibilities could be absorbed within existing resources.
The fiscal impact of expanding the uses of funds disbursed under Chapter 19 of the Election Code to include coordinating voter registration drives or other activities designed to expand voter registration is unknown because it is not known how many voter registration drives or other activities designed to expand voter registration would occur.
The fiscal impact of the revenue loss from the prohibition of DPS to collect a fee for a personal identification certificate issued to a person seeking the certificate for the purpose of voting is unknown because it is not known how many people would make a request for a personal identification certificate for voting.
The bill would require counties to notify registered voters of changes online if the county maintains a website, at polling locations, and included with voter registration certificates. Election clerks would be required to undergo training regarding accepted forms of voter identification.
According to Texas Association of Counties (TAC), Tarrant County anticipated a one-time cost to reprint provisional balloting materials and provide new notices ($8,000); Bexar County stated that due to limited space on current registration certificates, larger cards would be necessary resulting in additional costs for cards, printing and postage ($381,256); however, Comal County reported the costs associated with the provisions of the bill could be absorbed within existing resources.
304 Comptroller of Public Accounts, 307 Secretary of State, 405 Department of Public Safety
JOB, SD, MS, BTA