Texas Kills Again: Verified Paper Ballots Suffocated in Calendars Committee

By Sonia Santana

HB 166 died in the Texas House Legislature on Thursday
May 12, 2005. HB 166 was our best attempt at a verified
paper ballot trail for Texas this session.

The original bill filed by Rep. Aaron Pena (D-Edinburg) was amended in the Elections Committee by Chairwoman Mary Denny (R-Flower Mound) to the point it was simply a study bill. We can’t proceed too slowly on this issue in Texas for Rep. Denny’s tastes.

Despite the fact the bill was pretty uncontroversial by the time it reached the Calendars Committee, the powers that be, still could not risk their perceived loss of power. The bill had bi-partisan support with 4 Republicans on board including Mary Denny on the committee substitute version, and still it was quietly killed in Calendars with no vote scheduled on the floor.

Thursday was the last day bills in the House needed to be listed on Calendars for a vote this week. HB 166 never made the cut.

I mourn the death of HB 166, not only because I worked very hard on this bill, but because it is a huge loss for all Texan voters whose votes are not secure on electronic voting machines.

We wouldn’t even consider an ATM transaction without verifiable proof of our transactions, yet we have turned over our right to cast our vote without any guarantees of how your vote was actually cast or counted. Voter beware.

Sonia Santana is a voting rights activist in Austin.

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