With the fourth special session underway, Tarrant County GOP Chairman Bo French has voiced concerns over the unforeseen impacts of Senate Bill 924, passed during the regular session, and is calling on Governor Abbott to add the correction of this issue to the call.
Senate Bill 924, authored by Sen. Drew Springer, was targeted at counties with populations under 1.2 million, allowing them to combine precincts in certain circumstances. However, the bill also removed language that allowed for the combining of precincts in Primary Elections “to avoid unreasonable expenditures for election equipment, supplies, and personnel” in all counties. This paves the way for potential logistical and financial headaches for larger counties already utilizing countywide polling.
In a letter to Governor Abbott, Chairman French stated that Tarrant County “would be required to have almost 400 election day polling locations”, twice as many as typically used, resulting in unreasonable expenditures. Such a scenario might render the execution of the 2024 primary election impractical for Tarrant County and the local Republican Party.
Sen. Springer did file SB 76 in the third special session, now expired, to correct the inadvertent error. He can refile it in the fourth special session and it can be heard if Governor Abbott adds it to the list of issues that must be addressed.
While Advancing Integrity joins Chairman French in asking Governor Abbott to add SB 76 to the special session call, we strongly urge the Governor to add other election integrity bills as well. We must restore accuracy to our voter rolls, restore transparency by defining election records, and establish a new structure for enforcement of election laws or return the powers of prosecution to the Attorney General’s Office. (link to our legislative priorities)
We also see SB 76 as a short term solution. Texas counties must eliminate countywide polling and return to precinct-based polling, requiring a return to a larger number of polling locations and requiring additional expenditures. The 2025 Legislative Session should allocate funds in the budget accordingly. Securing Texas elections is a core function of government and should be fully funded.