Texas Governor Greg Abbott has called on state lawmakers to impose harsher penalties for illegal voting, building on earlier efforts in which the Republican leader pushed for a forensic audit of the 2020 election.
Abbott asked the Secretary of the Texas Senate on September 30 to identify legislation for consideration during the current special session that would increase the penalties for illegal voting after an earlier bill, SB 1 (PDF), made a felony. Will reduce the punishment of a misdemeanor.
“The State of Texas has made tremendous progress in maintaining the integrity of our elections,” Abbott said in a release. “By increasing the penalties for illegal voting, we will send an even clearer message that voter fraud will not be tolerated in Texas.”
Earlier in September, Abbott signed into law SB1, an election reform bill whose supporters say promotes the integrity of the election, but whose opponents say it establishes barriers to voting. In addition to establishing new ID requirements for voting by mail and making ballot harvesting a third-degree felony, the bill also changed the offense of illegal voting from a second-degree felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years, class A is involved in rape. which can be settled with fine.
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who chairs the state Senate, praised Abbott’s move to increase the punishment for illegal voting. Patrick said in a tweet That the Texas House had added an amendment reducing the penalty at the last minute and the change was not discovered until he and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton discovered it.
Paxton also weighed in on Abbott’s move.
“An excellent decision to demand increased penalties for vote fraudsters. I have always been in favor of quick and assured justice for those who attack the heart of our constitutional republic. I will continue to mobilize all my resources to protect electoral integrity.” wrote on twitter.
Earlier, Abbott moved audits of the 2020 general election in four Texas counties—Harris, Colin, Dallas, and Tarrant. The Texas Secretary of State’s office announced on September 28 that it would conduct audits, with the first phase—which includes verifying the accuracy of voting machines, assessing cybersecurity, and checking voter lists—is already underway.
The review was announced shortly after former President Donald Trump called on Abbott to audit the election, and shortly before an audit in Arizona was announced to uncover discrepancies.
Trump won Texas in the 2020 election by nearly 630,000 votes but said in a letter to Abbott that he had heard Texans want an audit.
“Your citizens do not trust the election system,” he wrote. “Texans are aware that voting fraud has occurred in some of their counties.”
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, a Democrat, told reporters last week that “the sensational announcement of an audit by the state is nothing more than a political ploy by a former president who is trying to gain favor.”
Zachary Steber contributed to this report.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times