AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Now that Senate Bill 1 has been signed into law, it will alter how elections are run locally.
Amarillo is preparing for a special election in November and SB 1 was signed into law Tuesday, so will this bill and its changes take effect before then?
“You will not see the effects of SB 1 in November,” said Potter County Elections Administrator Melynn Huntley.
Huntley said SB 1’s changes will not go into effect until 91 days after the bill is signed, giving counties time to prepare.
She said counties are already doing many things in this bill and putting it into law just formalizes it.
Randall County Elections Administrator Shannon Lackey added this bill addresses items that arose during the 2020 elections when counties tried to come up with procedures during the pandemic.
“So there was no ill intent, but this does codify what election law said and this is what all of us will do. It puts us all on a more uniform playing field,” said Lackey.
Huntley added voter fraud can happen in Texas, but not like you think.
“Typically it’s an advisor or vote harvesting. It’s not for the President or a senator, or a big race. Typically when these things are done, they are done in small quantities and for smaller races down the ballot,” said Huntley.
Lackey said voter integrity has been a hot topic since the 2020 election, but it is something local counties have strived to maintain.
“I’m hoping that by defining some of these roles it makes the voters a little more secure that their vote is going to count. Election integrity is what we have always done and so now this is just an extra layer that is that will help voters feel more confident about their vote,” added Lackey.
Huntley said voters will see changes at the polls that were approved in the first legislative session that do not pertain to bill SB 1. Those changes now include expecting mothers who can vote by mail and people will have to define their disability to be able to vote by mail.
SB 1 has been controversial since it was first introduced, with republicans who said the bill is needed for election integrity while democrats have said it could lead to voter suppression.