Texas Senate revives effort to make illegal voting a felony
Despite the lack of evidence of widespread voter fraud, the Texas Senate seems intent on raising the penalty for voting illegally from a misdemeanor to a second-degree felony. State Senator Bryan Hughes filed Senate Bill 2 on February 23rd, which would both make illegal voting a felony and change the standard for determining someone’s intent who has illegally voted. Currently, an individual violates the law when they “knowingly or intentionally” vote or try to vote in an election in which they “know they’re not eligible” to vote. Under Hughes’ new bill, anyone who votes or attempts to vote in an election in which, “the person knows of a particular circumstance that makes the person not eligible to vote” could face felony charges. Though this change appears small, it may lead to significant changes. This new law means that rather than having to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a voter knew they were casting their ballot unlawfully, prosecutors would only need to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the voter knew of the circumstance which made them ineligible to cast their ballot.