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Trump-backed bills on election audits, illegal voting penalties expected to die in Texas legislature

The Hill logo The Hill 10/19/2021 Mychael Schnell
a large tall tower with a clock at the top of a building: Trump-backed bills on election audits, illegal voting penalties expected to die in Texas legislature © Getty Images Trump-backed bills on election audits, illegal voting penalties expected to die in Texas legislature

The two election-related bills that were backed by former President Trump are expected to die in the Texas legislature when the legislative session ends Tuesday.

The pair of bills - one of which aims to make the process of requesting election audits easier, and the other calls for increasing penalties for illegal voting - both passed through the Texas Senate earlier this month, but have since stalled.

Neither of the bills have been taken up for a committee hearing in the Texas House, according to the Houston Chronicle, and the legislative session is set to wrap up on Tuesday.

Trump has pushed for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to support the audit bill, though Abbott had announced an audit of four large counties by the secretary of state's office.

The Texas Senate approved both pieces of legislation along party lines, except for Rep. Kel Seliger (R) voting against the audit bill, according to the Houston Chronicle.

After Seliger cast his vote, Trump endorsed Kevin Sparks, who is challenging him in the Republican primary.

Trump in his endorsement said Seliger is "not helpful to our great MAGA Movement and," and said he seems like "the Texas version of Mitt Romney (and that is not good!)."

The illegal voting bill calls for making the criminal offense for illegal voting a second-degree felony, subject to a year in jail, which would be an increase from its Class A misdemeanor status. It would alter language in the much contested voting rights bill the state legislature ultimately passed in late August after Democrats staged a walkout and fled to Washington, D.C., to deny Republicans a quorum to take up the bill.

The elections audit legislation, if passed and signed into law, would have directed county clerks to form an "election review advisory committee" to look into the results of the 2020 presidential election in specific precincts, selected randomly, if a request is made by a state or county party chair, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Additionally, the bill called for making the process easier for candidates and other individuals to ask their county clerk or the secretary of state for an audit.

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