SB 553 establishes election law that will allow for high school students to serve as election clerks at both polling places and in assisting early voting. The bill states that such work could legally count as part of a high school curriculum. If passed, students who work as election clerks will not have the time absent from classes counted against them, regardless of academic credit granted. Students are already allowed to serve as election clerks at hard polling places.
The students will serve as early voting election officials in a limited capacity. They may also serve as "student election officials" even if they do not meet the legal requirements and qualifications to serve as a full election clerk. The bill also entitles them to pay and benefits as though they were election or early voting clerks.
By: Uresti S.B. No. 553
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACTrelating to certain high school students serving as early voting clerks in an election.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Section 25.087, Education Code, is amended by adding Subsection (b-1) and amending Subsection (d) to read as follows:
(b-1) A school district may adopt a policy excusing a student from attending school for service as a student early voting clerk in an election.
(d) A student whose absence is excused under Subsection (b), (b-1), (b-2), or (c) may not be penalized for that absence and shall be counted as if the student attended school for purposes of calculating the average daily attendance of students in the school district. A student whose absence is excused under Subsection (b), (b-1), (b-2), or (c) shall be allowed a reasonable time to make up school work missed on those days. If the student satisfactorily completes the school work, the day of absence shall be counted as a day of compulsory attendance.
SECTION 2. Section 33.092, Education Code, is amended to read as follows:
Sec. 33.092. STUDENT ELECTION CLERKS AND EARLY VOTING CLERKS. A student who is appointed as a student election clerk under Section 32.0511, Election Code, or as a student early voting clerk under Section 83.012, Election Code, may apply the time served as a student election clerk or student early voting clerk toward:
(1) a requirement for a school project at the discretion of the teacher who assigned the project; or
(2) a service requirement for participation in an advanced academic course program at the discretion of the program sponsor or a school-sponsored extracurricular activity at the discretion of the school sponsor.
SECTION 3. Subchapter A, Chapter 83, Election Code, is amended by adding Section 83.012 to read as follows:
Sec. 83.012. STUDENT EARLY VOTING CLERKS.
(a) The early voting clerk may appoint student early voting clerks as necessary to assist the early voting clerk.
(b) A person is eligible to serve as a student early voting clerk under this section if the person is ineligible to serve as a clerk of an election precinct under Section 32.051(c) but meets the eligibility requirements to be a student election clerk under Section 32.0511.
(c) A student early voting clerk serving under this section:
(1) is entitled to compensation under Section 83.052 in the same manner as other early voting clerks; and
(2) when communicating with a voter who cannot communicate in English, may communicate with the voter in a language the voter and the clerk understand as authorized by Subchapter B, Chapter 61.
(d) Not more than four student early voting clerks may serve at an early voting polling place.
(e) The secretary of state may initiate or assist in the development of a statewide program promoting the use of student early voting clerks appointed under this section.
The bill was introduced by Castro and Obama supporter, Carlos Uresti of San Antonio. Uresti has a history of supporting bills and efforts that support socialism. This bill, if passed, opens the doors for voter fraud and degrades the integrity of the electoral process.
The language of the bill may indicate that Uresti supports non-citizens having a role in elections. That would include illegal aliens living in Texas. However Texas Election Code Section 32.0511 states that those serving as "specially appointed student election clerks" must be US Citizens.
The bill allows for minors under legal voting age, as young as 16, to be hired as election clerks and early voting clerks.
Early voting has come under fire by those who oppose voter fraud such as True The Vote and Verify the Vote. The reason is there are not enough controls in place to insure that ballots are not tampered with. There have been cases where registration officials have changed the mailing address of early ballots and voted in place of the actual registered voter listed on the ballot. In other cases, individuals claiming to assist early voters have destroyed ballots that did not support the candidate of their choice. In other cases, voters left ballot items blank which these personnel later filled in with their choices.
Early voting has it benefits. However, better controls need to be enacted. Allowing 16 year old children to handle these ballots may not be the most responsible reform of voter law. In fact, it may lead to increased voter fraud and open legal challenges to the integrity and validity of any election.
Somebody not eligible to register to vote should not be allowed to count votes or handle ballots.