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More than 100 election-related bills filed in 88th Texas legislative session

The bills focus on everything from changing how we can register to vote to tougher punishments for voter fraud.

AUSTIN, Texas — The 88th Texas legislative session started on Tuesday. Already, more than 100 election-related bills have been filed, according to former state representative and University of Texas political expert Sherri Greenberg. 

When the Texas Legislature met in 2021, things got heated. Some Democrats broke quorum and fled to Washington, D.C., in an effort to stop what they called a voter suppression bill.

After three special sessions, Senate Bill 1 was passed, tightening voting laws, banning drive-thru voting, changing early voting hours and restricting voter assistance for people with disabilities.

Republicans said the bill makes it easier to vote but harder to cheat.

"A very difficult situation last session, absolutely," Greenberg said.

Many of the bills that have been filed for this session are notable, but KVUE spoke to Greenberg about a few. 

HB 39 would make election fraud a felony again. SB 220 and HB 549 relate to establishing election marshals to prevent voting violations. HB 1145, HB 1070 and SB 92 would allow online voter registration.

Greenberg said online voter registration is an effort that has failed session after session. 

"I think there are concerns that some members have with security, and that and not trusting online," Greenberg said.

It's a law most states have already enacted. 

"This is something that has been proven to be safe, secure and equitable," said Stephanie Gomez with Move Texas, a nonpartisan voter rights organization.

Gomez has helped a lot of Texans register to vote.

"They have to fill out a form," Gomez said. "The form has to be legible. It has to then be returned to the appropriate county official, and then it goes through this process of being vetted, and then it's just a very confusing process." 

Another notable bill, HB 296, from Democratic State Rep. John Bucy, would increase voter access for people with disabilities by adding parking priority and expanding access to mail-in ballots to those who qualify.

"I think there could be common ground," Greenberg said.

It's one bill Greenberg said Republicans and Democrats could agree on to push forward.

The governor has yet to set his priorities, but in his first speech of the session, House Speaker Dade Phelan said that while Republican and Democrats don't agree on everything, they can work together to do the work that's necessary for the people of Texas.

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