On November 8, the U.S. will hold its midterm elections, while Texas voters will head to the polls to elect state and local officials. For many Texans, even with the passage of new voting legislation/Senate Bill 1 (SB1) in 2021, election integrity remains a point of concern.
In just over one month, voters in Texas will cast their ballots for seven statewide positions: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, land commissioner, agriculture commissioner, comptroller and a Railroad Commission seat. Additionally, Texans are slated to elect officials for district-based congressional and legislative offices, the State Board of Education, and judicial seats.
Election Integrity is a Non-Partisan Issue in Texas
The issue of election integrity is not a partisan one. As part of its 2022 platform, the Republican Party of Texas (see Fair Elections Procedures) states the group’s support for “The constitutional authority of state legislatures to regulate voting.” Additionally, the 2022 platform of the Texas Democratic Party (see Democracy) says, “Openness, accountability, and high ethical standards in elected officials and government agencies are paramount to ensure a level playing field and a government responsive to the needs of its citizens.”
The Texas Constitution was written with the notion of imposing strict limits on what the government can do. Elections are therefore critical components of maintaining our ways of life. To that end, in 2021 Texas enacted SB1, legislation intended to: prevent fraud in the conduct of elections in the state; increase criminal penalties; create criminal offenses; and provide civil penalties for election fraud.
Some Texas Politicians are More Concerned than Others with Protecting the Process
When it comes to penalties for election fraud, not all state politicians take the offense as seriously as do others. When asked during an interview last week at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin about whether he believes the 2020 election was stolen, Speaker of the Texas House Dade Phelan stated categorically: “I do not. There is no evidence that election was stolen.”
Phelan’s comment is not surprising, as last year he seemed to reject concerns over the extent of illegal voting in Texas. When arguing for stiffer penalties for election fraud, Gov. Greg Abbott and GOP lawmakers were rebuffed by Phelan, who said, “Now is not the time to re-litigate [SB1].” Instead, the House added a condition that lessened the punishment for illegal voting, making what was a second-degree felony now a Class A misdemeanor.
Doubt, Uncertainty, and the Voting Process
In the U.S.’s most recent national election, “irregularities” alleged in states like Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin led to distrust in the voting process across the nation. Voters outside of these six so-called swing states have since pushed for investigations of breaches in security around both the ballot boxes and in the analyses of election data.
Texas’ record isn’t perfect with regard to preventing election fraud. The website for the Texas Office of Attorney General (OAG) reports the state is currently investigating 386 election fraud offenses. OAG defines election fraud as “any attempt to subvert or manipulate the electoral process by illegal means.”
The US Constitution places primary authority for election systems and administration in the hands of the states, not in those of the federal government; yet recent history offers evidence that tenet has been disregarded. A free and independent Texas allows for more appropriate and effective oversight of our elections, protecting against fraud, intimidation, ballot “harvesting,” and/or non-registered individuals casting votes.
Protecting the Political Independence of the Nation of Texas
Texas patriots are dedicated to protecting the election process at every level, and the Texas Nationalist Movement is working towards that end: “Our mission is to secure and protect the political, cultural and economic independence of the nation of Texas and to restore and protect a constitutional Republic and the inherent rights of the people of Texas.” A government that begins and ends at the borders of Texas allows us to better protect our elections.
The Office of the Texas Secretary of State offers an online Poll Watcher Training that certifies a person “to become a certified Poll Watcher on behalf of a candidate, political party, or specific-purpose political action committee.”
If election security is a concern to you, then do something about it. Vote, and follow the rules. Sign up to be a poll watcher or election volunteer. Every bit of oversight and accountability will help, until the day comes when we get to renegotiate Texas elections on Texas-only terms. We won’t get a vote for Texas independence unless we all work together.