Bill Would Require Texans to Register to Vote 'By Party'

Registering to vote may be entirely different when we go to the polls in 2020, if some Republicans in the Texas Legislature have their way, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Under a bill introduced by State Rep. Mike Lang (R-Granbury), you would have to declare your party preference when you register to vote, and would be restricted to voting in that party's primary election.  A person could declare no party affiliation, but would then be prohibited from voting in either major party's primary.

If a person decides to change his or her party affiliation, that change could not take effect for one year.

Currently, a person can vote in a  primary runoff election only if that runoff is in the same party as the voter participated in the primary itself, and the person can vote in the Democrat or Republican primaries but not in both, but there is no requirement that a person declare his or her party affiliation.

It would be a second degree felony, which carries of penalty of up to 20 years in prison, for a person to knowingly vote in a primary elections if the voters has not declared affiliation with that party.  The new law would require party declarations take place before the 2020 election season begins.

The proposal also requires more information to go on the voter registration form, including drivers license number and the last four digits of the voter's Social Security Number.

Since with increasingly gerrymandered political districts, more and more elections in Texas are out of reach for one party or the other, more attention is being paid to the primary elections.  There have been allegations, for example, that Republicans have organized to vote for a certain candidate in the Democrat primary, or vice versa, to insure that a weak or unattractive candidate is nominated by the opposing party.

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