I'm not going to try to note the filing of every bill of interest - Vince has that segment of the market pretty well cornered - but one that I'd like to highlight is HB512, filed by Rep. Solomon Ortiz, Jr (D, Corpus Christi), which would standardize early voting hours at 7 AM to 7 PM for counties of 100,000 people or more. (Some counties already do this.) Given the huge boost in participation of early voting, this just makes sense. I wish we could extend early voting further, to include a second weekend for regular elections and at least one weekend for special elections, but that will have to be a fight for another day, or at least another bill. I've got a release from Rep. Ortiz beneath the fold. I'll be rooting for this one to pass.
State Representative Solomon Ortiz, Jr. announced today that he has filed HB 512, which standardizes the hours of operation at early voting polling places in large counties across the state.
"Currently, early voting hours vary significantly from week to week and from polling place to polling place," Ortiz said. "This bill will standardize the hours at permanent locations and help people avoid confusion when they're making plans to go vote."
The bill requires that permanent early voting polling places remain open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. for the duration of weekday early voting in counties with 100,000 or more people.
"During the entire first week of early voting during the November general election, the polls in some counties were only open until 5:00 p.m. " Ortiz said. "That left many Texans without the opportunity to go vote after work."
Before filing the legislation, Ortiz consulted elections officials who conduct elections at the local level.
"As it stands, polling place hours vary from one week to the next," said Nueces County Clerk Diana Barrera. "Rep. Ortiz's legislation will eliminate voter confusion and help make sure more voters make it to the polls."
Ortiz represents House District 33, which includes part of Nueces County and the City of Corpus Christi. Rep. Ortiz encourages constituents to contact his office on this or any issue of interest at (512) 463-0484, email him at [email protected] or visit the House of Representatives website at www.house.state.tx.us.