Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has called on state lawmakers to impose tougher penalties for invalid ballots, following earlier efforts to pressure the Republican leader to conduct a forensic audit of the 2020 election.
Abbott Sept. Sept. asked the Texas Senate secretary to identify legislation for consideration during the current special session that would increase the penalty for invalid voting after the previous bill, SB1 (PDF), reduced the penalty to a felony.
“The state of Texas has made remarkable progress in maintaining the integrity of our election,” Abbott said in a statement. “By increasing the fines for invalid voting, we will send a clearer message that voter fraud in Texas will not be tolerated.”
Earlier in September, Abbott signed into law the Electoral Reform Bill, whose supporters say it undermines electoral integrity but whose protesters say it hinders voting. In addition to establishing new ID requirements for voting by mail and making it a third-degree offense to harvest ballots, the bill made the offense of invalid voting a second-degree offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a class misdemeanor that can be resolved through fines.
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who chairs the state Senate, praised Abbott’s move to increase penalties for invalid voting. Patrick Said in a tweet That Texas House added a last-minute fine reduction amendment and the change could not be identified until he and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton discovered it.
Paxton also relied on Abbott’s move.
“It simply came to our notice then. I was in favor of a speedy and assured trial against those who always attacked the heart of our constitutional republic. I will continue to collect all my resources to protect the integrity of the election, ”he said Wrote on Twitter.
Earlier, Abbott conducted an audit of four Texas counties in the 2020 general election – Harris, Colin, Dallas and Taranto. The Texas Secretary of State’s office announced Sept. 28 that it would conduct an audit, the first step of which – verifying the validity of the voting machine, cyber security assessment and voter list verification – is already underway.
The review was announced after former President Donald Trump called on Abbott to audit the election, and an inconsistency was revealed shortly before an audit in Arizona.
Trump won Texas by nearly 300,000 votes in the 2020 election, but in a letter to Abbott, he said he heard Texans wanted an audit.
“Your citizens do not believe in the electoral system,” he wrote. “Texans know some of their counties have had vote fraud.”
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, a Democrat, told reporters last week that “the sensational announcement of a state audit is nothing more than a political ploy by a former president and anyone trying to please him.”
Jacqueline Steiber contributed to this report.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times