The full text of Texas House Bill 6 – PLEASE VOTE NO – SAVE OUR DEMOCRACY

Texas House Bill 6

 

Bill Title: Relating to election integrity and security, including by preventing fraud in the conduct of elections in this state; increasing criminal penalties; creating criminal offenses.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 72-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-05-07 – Laid on the table subject to call [HB6 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-HB6-Comm_Sub.html


  87R18640 TSS-D
 
  By: Cain, Schofield, Klick, Clardy, Jetton, H.B. No. 6
      et al.
 
  Substitute the following for H.B. No. 6:
 
  By:  Cain C.S.H.B. No. 6
 
 
  A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
  AN ACT
  relating to election integrity and security, including by
  preventing fraud in the conduct of elections in this state;
  increasing criminal penalties; creating criminal offenses.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
  ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
         SECTION 1.01.  SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the
  Election Integrity Protection Act of 2021.
         SECTION 1.02.  PURPOSE. The purpose of this Act is to
  exercise the legislature’s constitutional authority under Section
  4, Article VI, Texas Constitution, to make all laws necessary to
  detect and punish fraud and preserve the purity of the ballot box.
         SECTION 1.03.  FINDINGS. The legislature finds that:
               (1)  full, free, and fair elections are the
  underpinnings of a stable constitutional democracy;
               (2)  fraud in elections threatens the stability of a
  constitutional democracy by undermining public confidence in the
  legitimacy of public officers chosen by election;
               (3)  reforms are needed to the election laws of this
  state to ensure that fraud does not undermine the public confidence
  in the electoral process;
               (4)  Section 4, Article VI, Texas Constitution,
  entrusts the enactment of laws to combat fraud in the electoral
  process to the sound discretion of the legislature; and
               (5)  the reforms to the election laws of this state made
  by this Act are not intended to impair the right of free suffrage
  guaranteed to the people of Texas by the United States and Texas
  Constitutions, but are enacted solely to prevent fraud in the
  electoral process.
         SECTION 1.04.  Chapter 1, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Section 1.0015 to read as follows:
         Sec. 1.0015.  LEGISLATIVE INTENT. It is the intent of the
  legislature that the application of this code and the conduct of
  elections shall be uniform and consistent throughout this state to
  reduce the likelihood of fraud in the conduct of elections.
         SECTION 1.05.  Section 1.003, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (a-1) to read as follows:
         (a-1)  A public official shall construe the provisions of
  this code strictly to effect the intent of the legislature under
  Section 1.0015.
         SECTION 1.06.  Section 1.005, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subdivision (15-a) to read as follows:
               (15-a)  “Public official” means any person elected,
  selected, appointed, employed, or otherwise designated as an
  officer, employee, or agent of this state, a government agency, a
  political subdivision, or any other public body established by
  state law.
  ARTICLE 2. REGISTRATION OF VOTERS AND CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS
         SECTION 2.01.  Sections 16.001(a) and (b), Election Code,
  are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  Each month the local registrar of deaths shall prepare
  an abstract of each death certificate issued in the month for a
  decedent 18 years of age or older who was a resident of the state at
  the time of death.  The local registrar of deaths shall file each
  abstract with the voter registrar of the decedent’s county of
  residence and the secretary of state as soon as possible, but not
  later than the 7th [10th] day after [of the month following the
  month in which] the abstract is prepared.
         (b)  Each month the clerk of each court having probate
  jurisdiction shall prepare an abstract of each application for
  probate of a will, administration of a decedent’s estate, or
  determination of heirship, and each affidavit under Chapter 205,
  Estates Code, that is filed in the month with a court served by the
  clerk.  The clerk shall file each abstract with the voter registrar
  and the secretary of state as soon as possible, but not later than
  the 7th [10th] day after [of the month following the month in which]
  the abstract is prepared.
         SECTION 2.02.  Section 64.007(c), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (c)  An election officer shall maintain a register of spoiled
  ballots at the polling place, including spoiled ballots from a
  direct recording electronic voting unit. An election officer shall
  enter on the register the name of each voter who returns a spoiled
  ballot and the spoiled ballot’s number.
  ARTICLE 3. ELECTION OFFICERS AND OBSERVERS
         SECTION 3.01.  Section 32.075, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (g) to read as follows:
         (g)  A presiding judge may not:
               (1)  have a watcher appointed under Subchapter A,
  Chapter 33, removed from the polling place; or
               (2)  require a watcher appointed under Subchapter A,
  Chapter 33, to leave the polling place.
         SECTION 3.02.  Subchapter A, Chapter 33, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 33.0015 to read as follows:
         Sec. 33.0015.  CHAPTER PURPOSE AND WATCHER DUTY. The
  purpose of this chapter is to preserve the integrity of the ballot
  box in accordance with Section 4, Article VI, Texas Constitution,
  by providing for the appointment of watchers. To effect that
  purpose, a watcher appointed under this chapter shall observe the
  conduct of an election and call to the attention of an election
  officer any observed or suspected irregularity or violation of law
  in the conduct of the election.
         SECTION 3.03.  Section 33.051, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subsections (g) and (h) to read as follows:
         (g)  An election officer commits an offense if the officer
  intentionally or knowingly refuses to accept a watcher for service
  when acceptance of the watcher is required by this section.
         (h)  An offense under Subsection (g) is a Class B
  misdemeanor.
         SECTION 3.04.  Section 33.056, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (e) to read as follows:
         (e)  In this code, a watcher who is entitled to “observe” an
  activity or procedure is entitled to sit or stand near enough to see
  and hear the activity or procedure.
         SECTION 3.05.  Subchapter C, Chapter 33, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 33.0605 to read as follows:
         Sec. 33.0605.  OBSERVING DATA STORAGE SEALING AND TRANSFER.
  A watcher appointed to serve at a polling place in an election may
  observe the sealing and transfer of a memory card, flash drive, hard
  drive, data storage device, or other medium now existing or later
  developed used by the voting system equipment.
         SECTION 3.06.  Section 33.061(a), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  A person commits an offense if the person serves in an
  official capacity at a location at which the presence of watchers is
  authorized and knowingly prevents a watcher from observing an
  activity or procedure the watcher is entitled to observe, including
  by taking any action to obstruct the view of a watcher or distance
  the watcher from the activity or procedure to be observed in a
  manner that would make observation not reasonably effective.
         SECTION 3.07.  Subchapter C, Chapter 33, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 33.062 to read as follows:
         Sec. 33.062.  REMOVAL OF WATCHER FROM POLLING PLACE. The
  presiding judge may remove a watcher from a polling place only if
  the watcher engages in activity that would constitute an offense
  related to the conduct of the election, including an offense under
  Chapter 276.
         SECTION 3.08.  Section 61.001, Election Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (a-1) to read as
  follows:
         (a)  Except as permitted by this code and as described by
  Subsection (a-1), a person may not be in the polling place from the
  time the presiding judge arrives there on election day to make the
  preliminary arrangements until the precinct returns have been
  certified and the election records have been assembled for
  distribution following the election.
         (a-1)  Under this code, a person may be lawfully present in a
  polling place during the time described by Subsection (a) if the
  person is:
               (1)  an election judge or clerk;
               (2)  a watcher;
               (3)  the secretary of state;
               (4)  a staff member of the Elections Division of the
  Office of the Secretary of State performing an official duty in
  accordance with this code;
               (5)  an election official, a sheriff, or a staff member
  of an election official or sheriff delivering election supplies;
               (6)  a state inspector;
               (7)  a person admitted to vote;
               (8)  a child under 18 years of age who is accompanying a
  parent who has been admitted to vote;
               (9)  a person providing assistance to a voter under
  Section 61.032 or 64.032;
               (10)  a person accompanying a voter who has a
  disability;
               (11)  a special peace officer appointed by the
  presiding judge under Section 32.075;
               (12)  the county chair of a political party conducting
  a primary election, as authorized by Section 172.1113;
               (13)  a voting system technician, as authorized by
  Section 125.010;
               (14)  the county election officer, as defined by
  Section 31.091, as necessary to perform tasks related to the
  administration of the election; or
               (15)  a person whose presence has been authorized by
  the presiding judge and alternate presiding judge in accordance
  with this code.
         SECTION 3.09.  Section 86.006(a-1), Election Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (a-1)  The voter may deliver a marked ballot in person to the
  early voting clerk’s office only while the polls are open on
  election day. A voter who delivers a marked ballot in person must
  present an acceptable form of identification described by Section
  63.0101. A poll watcher is entitled to observe the delivery of
  ballots under this subsection. The poll watcher must be able to
  determine how the ballots are being delivered and how election
  officials are making decisions about the delivery of ballots, if
  applicable. The poll watcher may not disrupt the process of
  delivering ballots.
         SECTION 3.10.  Section 87.026, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 87.026.  BYSTANDERS EXCLUDED. (a) Except as permitted
  by this code and as described by Subsection (b), a person may not be
  in the meeting place of an early voting ballot board during the time
  of the board’s operations.
         (b)  Under this code, a person may be lawfully present in the
  meeting place of an early voting ballot board during the time of the
  board’s operations if the person is:
               (1)  a presiding judge or member of the board;
               (2)  a watcher;
               (3)  a voting system technician, as authorized by
  Section 125.010;
               (4)  the county election officer, as defined by Section
  31.091, as necessary to perform tasks related to the administration
  of the election; or
               (5)  a person whose presence has been authorized by the
  presiding judge in accordance with this code.
         SECTION 3.11.  Subchapter A, Chapter 127, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 127.008 to read as follows:
         Sec. 127.008.  BYSTANDERS EXCLUDED. (a) Except as permitted
  by this code and as described by Subsection (b), a person may not be
  in a central counting station while ballots are being counted.
         (b)  Under this code, a person may be lawfully present in the
  central counting station while ballots are being counted if the
  person is:
               (1)  a counting station manager, tabulation
  supervisor, assistant to the tabulation supervisor, presiding
  judge, or clerk;
               (2)  a watcher;
               (3)  a voting system technician, as authorized by
  Section 125.010;
               (4)  the county election officer, as defined by Section
  31.091, as necessary to perform tasks related to the administration
  of the election; or
               (5)  a person whose presence has been authorized by the
  presiding judge of the central counting station in accordance with
  this code.
  ARTICLE 4. ASSISTANCE OF VOTERS
         SECTION 4.01.  Subchapter B, Chapter 64, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 64.0322 to read as follows:
         Sec. 64.0322.  SUBMISSION OF FORM BY ASSISTANT. (a) A
  person, other than an election officer, who assists a voter in
  accordance with this chapter is required to complete a form
  stating:
               (1)  the name and address of the person assisting the
  voter;
               (2)  the manner in which the person is assisting the
  voter;
               (3)  the reason the assistance is necessary; and
               (4)  the relationship of the assistant to the voter.
         (b)  The secretary of state shall prescribe the form required
  by this section. The form must be incorporated into the official
  carrier envelope if the voter is voting an early voting ballot by
  mail and receives assistance under Section 86.010, or must be
  submitted to an election officer at the time the voter casts a
  ballot if the voter is voting at a polling place or under Section
  64.009.
         SECTION 4.02.  Section 64.034, Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 64.034.  OATH. A person selected to provide assistance
  to a voter must take the following oath, administered by an election
  officer at the polling place, before providing assistance:
         “I swear (or affirm) under penalty of perjury that I will not
  suggest, by word, sign, or gesture, how the voter should vote; I
  will confine my assistance to answering the voter’s questions, to
  stating propositions on the ballot, and to naming candidates and,
  if listed, their political parties; I will prepare the voter’s
  ballot as the voter directs; I did not pressure, encourage, coerce,
  or intimidate the voter into choosing me to provide assistance; and
  I am not the voter’s employer, an agent of the voter’s employer, or
  an officer or agent of a labor union to which the voter belongs.”
         SECTION 4.03.  Section 86.010, Election Code, is amended by
  amending Subsections (e), (h), and (i) and adding Subsection (i-1)
  to read as follows:
         (e)  A person who assists a voter to prepare a ballot to be
  voted by mail shall enter on the official carrier envelope of the
  voter:
               (1)  the person’s signature, printed name, and
  residence address;
               (2)  the manner of any assistance provided to the voter
  by the person;
               (3)  the relationship of the person providing the
  assistance to the voter; and
               (4)  whether the person received or accepted any form
  of compensation or other benefit from a candidate, campaign, or
  political committee in exchange for providing assistance [on the
  official carrier envelope of the voter].
         (h)  Subsection (f) does not apply to:
               (1)  a violation of Subsection (c), if the person is
  related to the voter within the second degree by affinity or the
  third degree by consanguinity, as determined under Subchapter B,
  Chapter 573, Government Code, or was physically living in the same
  dwelling as the voter at the time of the event; or
               (2)  a violation of Subsection (e), if the person is
  related to the voter within the second degree by affinity or the
  third degree by consanguinity, as determined under Subchapter B,
  Chapter 573, Government Code.
         (i)  An offense under this section for a violation of
  Subsection (c) is increased to the next higher category of offense
  if it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that:
               (1)  the defendant was previously convicted of an
  offense under this code;
               (2)  the offense involved a voter 65 years of age or
  older; or
               (3)  the defendant committed another offense under this
  section in the same election.
         (i-1)  An offense under this section for a violation of
  Subsection (e) is a felony of the third degree if it is shown on the
  trial of the offense that the person committed an offense under
  Section 64.036 for providing unlawful assistance to the same voter
  in connection with the same ballot.
         SECTION 4.04.  Sections 86.0105(a), (c), and (e), Election
  Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  A person commits an offense if the person:
               (1)  compensates or offers to compensate another person
  for assisting voters as provided by Section 86.010[, as part of any
  performance-based compensation scheme based on the number of voters
  assisted or in which another person is presented with a quota of
  voters to be assisted as provided by Section 86.010]; or
               (2)  solicits, receives, or [engages in another
  practice that causes another person’s compensation from or
  employment status with the person to be dependent on the number of
  voters assisted as provided by Section 86.010; or
               [(3)  with knowledge that accepting compensation for
  such activity is illegal,] accepts compensation for an activity
  described by Subdivision (1) [or (2)].
         (c)  An offense under this section is a state jail felony [if
  it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that the
  defendant was previously convicted two or more times under this
  section].
         (e)  For purposes of this section, compensation means any
  form of monetary payment, goods, services, benefits, or promises or
  offers of employment, political favors, beneficial or favorable
  discretionary official acts, or any other form of consideration
  offered to another person in exchange for assisting voters.
         SECTION 4.05.  Section 86.013(b), Election Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (b)  Spaces must appear on the reverse side of the official
  carrier envelope for:
               (1)  indicating the identity and date of the election;
  [and]
               (2)  entering the signature, printed name, and
  residence address of a person other than the voter who deposits the
  carrier envelope in the mail or with a common or contract carrier;
  and
               (3)  indicating the manner of any assistance provided
  by a person assisting the voter, and the relationship of that person
  to the voter.
  ARTICLE 5. FRAUD AND OTHER UNLAWFUL PRACTICES
         SECTION 5.01.  Chapter 63, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Section 63.0111 to read as follows:
         Sec. 63.0111.  OFFENSES RELATED TO PROVISIONAL VOTING. (a)
  An election judge commits an offense if the judge knowingly
  provides a voter with a form for an affidavit required by Section
  63.001 if the form contains false information that was entered on
  the form by the judge.
         (b)  An offense under this section is a state jail felony.
         SECTION 5.02.  Section 64.012, Election Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (c) to read as
  follows:
         (a)  A person commits an offense if the person:
               (1)  votes or attempts to vote in an election in which
  the person knows the person is not eligible to vote;
               (2)  knowingly votes or attempts to vote more than once
  in an election;
               (3)  knowingly votes or attempts to vote a ballot
  belonging to another person, or by impersonating another person;
  [or]
               (4)  knowingly marks or attempts to mark any portion of
  another person’s ballot without the consent of that person, or
  without specific direction from that person how to mark the ballot;
  or
               (5)  knowingly votes or attempts to vote in an election
  in this state after voting in another state in an election in which
  a federal office appears on the ballot and the election day for both
  states is the same day.
         (c)  If conduct that constitutes an offense under this
  section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor
  may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.
         SECTION 5.03.  Sections 276.013(a) and (b), Election Code,
  are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  A person commits an offense if the person knowingly or
  intentionally makes any effort to:
               (1)  influence the independent exercise of the vote of
  another in the presence of the ballot or during the voting process,
  including by altering the ballot of another or by otherwise causing
  a ballot to not reflect the intent of the voter;
               (2)  cause a voter to become registered, a ballot to be
  obtained, or a vote to be cast under false pretenses; [or]
               (3)  count invalid votes or alter a report to include
  invalid votes;
               (4)  fail to count valid votes or alter a report to
  exclude valid votes; or
               (5) [(3)]  cause any intentionally misleading
  statement, representation, or information to be provided:
                     (A)  to an election official; or
                     (B)  on an application for ballot by mail, carrier
  envelope, or any other official election-related form or document.
         (b)  An offense under this section is a state jail felony
  [Class A misdemeanor].
         SECTION 5.04.  Chapter 276, Election Code, is amended by
  adding Sections 276.014, 276.016, 276.017, 276.018, and 276.019 to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 276.014.  PAID VOTE HARVESTING. (a) In this section:
               (1)  “Benefit” means anything reasonably regarded as a
  gain or advantage, including:
                     (A)  a promise or offer of employment, a political
  favor, or a favorable discretionary official act; and
                     (B)  a benefit to any other person in whose
  welfare the beneficiary has an interest.
               (2)  “Vote harvesting services” means direct
  interaction with one or more voters in connection with an official
  ballot, a ballot voted by mail, or an application for ballot by
  mail, intended to deliver votes for a specific candidate or
  measure.
         (b)  A person commits an offense if the person, directly or
  through a third party, knowingly provides or offers to provide vote
  harvesting services in exchange for compensation or other benefit.
         (c)  A person commits an offense if the person, directly or
  through a third party, knowingly provides or offers to provide
  compensation or other benefit to a person in exchange for vote
  harvesting services.
         (d)  A person commits an offense if the person knowingly
  collects or possesses a ballot voted by mail or official carrier
  envelope from a voter in connection with vote harvesting services.
         (e)  This section does not apply to political speech or other
  acts merely promoting a candidate or measure that do not involve
  direct interaction with:
               (1)  an application for ballot by mail, in the presence
  of the voter; or
               (2)  a voter’s official ballot, ballot voted by mail, or
  carrier envelope.
         (f)  In this section, compensation or other benefit in
  exchange for vote harvesting services is inferred if a person who
  performed the vote harvesting services for a candidate or campaign
  solicits, receives, or is offered compensation from the candidate
  or campaign, directly or through a third party, for services other
  than the vote harvesting services provided.
         (g)  An offense under this section is a felony of the third
  degree.
         (h)  If conduct that constitutes an offense under this
  section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor
  may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.
         Sec. 276.016.  UNLAWFUL SOLICITATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF
  APPLICATION TO VOTE BY MAIL. (a) A public official commits an
  offense if the official, while acting in an official capacity,
  knowingly: 
               (1)  solicits the submission of an application to vote
  by mail from a person who did not request an application;
               (2)  distributes an application to vote by mail to a
  person who did not request the application unless the distribution
  is expressly authorized by another provision of this code;
               (3)  authorizes or approves the expenditure of public
  funds to facilitate third-party distribution of an application to
  vote by mail to a person who did not request the application; or
               (4)  completes any portion of an application to vote by
  mail and distributes the application to an applicant.
         (b)  An offense under this section is a state jail felony.
         (c)  It is an exception to the application of Subsection
  (a)(2) that the public official engaged in the conduct described by
  Subsection (a)(2) by providing access to an application to vote by
  mail from a publicly accessible Internet website.
         (d)  It is an exception to the application of Subsection
  (a)(4) that the public official engaged in the conduct described by
  Subsection (a)(4) while lawfully assisting the applicant under
  Section 84.003.
         Sec. 276.017.  UNLAWFUL DISTRIBUTION OF EARLY VOTING BALLOTS
  AND BALLOTING MATERIALS. (a) The early voting clerk or other
  election official commits an offense if the clerk or official
  knowingly mails or otherwise provides an early voting ballot by
  mail or other early voting by mail ballot materials to a person who
  did not submit an application for a ballot to be voted by mail under
  Section 84.001.
         (b)  An offense under this section is a state jail felony.
         Sec. 276.018.  PERJURY IN CONNECTION WITH CERTAIN ELECTION
  PROCEDURES. (a) A person commits an offense if the person makes a
  false statement or swears to the truth of a false statement
  previously made while making the oath described by Section 64.034.
         (b)  An offense under this section is a state jail felony.
         Sec. 276.019.  UNLAWFUL ALTERING OF ELECTION PROCEDURES. A
  public official may not alter, waive, or suspend an election
  standard, practice, or procedure mandated by law or rule unless the
  alteration, waiver, or suspension is expressly authorized by this
  code.
  ARTICLE 6. ENFORCEMENT
         SECTION 6.01.  Subchapter C, Chapter 22, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Section 22.2235 to read as follows:
         Sec. 22.2235.  COURT SITTING IN PANELS FOR CERTAIN ELECTION
  PROCEEDINGS; CRIMINAL OFFENSE. (a) In this section, “public
  official” has the meaning assigned by Section 1.005(15-a), Election
  Code.
         (b)  Notwithstanding any other law or rule, a court
  proceeding entitled to priority under Section 22.304 and filed in a
  court of appeals shall be docketed by the clerk of the court and
  assigned to a panel of three justices determined using an automated
  assignment system.
         (c)  A person, including a public official, commits an
  offense if the person communicates with a court clerk with the
  intention of influencing or attempting to influence the composition
  of a three-justice panel assigned a specific proceeding under this
  section.
         (d)  An offense under this section is a state jail felony.
         SECTION 6.02.  Subchapter D, Chapter 22, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Section 22.304 to read as follows:
         Sec. 22.304.  PRIORITY OF CERTAIN ELECTION PROCEEDINGS. (a)
  The supreme court or a court of appeals shall prioritize over any
  other proceeding pending or filed in the court a proceeding for
  injunctive relief under Chapter 273, Election Code, based on
  alleged conduct constituting an offense under Chapter 276, Election
  Code, pending or filed in the court on or after the 60th day before a
  general or special election.
         (b)  The court with jurisdiction over a proceeding described
  by Subsection (a), on request of any party to the proceeding, shall
  grant the party the opportunity to present an oral argument and
  begin hearing the argument as soon as practicable but not later than
  24 hours after the time the last brief for the proceeding is due to
  be filed with the court.
         (c)  Oral argument for a proceeding described by Subsection
  (a) may be given in person or through electronic means.
         SECTION 6.03.  Section 23.101, Government Code, is amended
  by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (b-1) and (b-2)
  to read as follows:
         (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (b-1), the [The] trial
  courts of this state shall regularly and frequently set hearings
  and trials of pending matters, giving preference to hearings and
  trials of the following:
               (1)  temporary injunctions;
               (2)  criminal actions, with the following actions given
  preference over other criminal actions:
                     (A)  criminal actions against defendants who are
  detained in jail pending trial;
                     (B)  criminal actions involving a charge that a
  person committed an act of family violence, as defined by Section
  71.004, Family Code;
                     (C)  an offense under:
                           (i)  Section 21.02 or 21.11, Penal Code;
                           (ii)  Chapter 22, Penal Code, if the victim
  of the alleged offense is younger than 17 years of age;
                           (iii)  Section 25.02, Penal Code, if the
  victim of the alleged offense is younger than 17 years of age;
                           (iv)  Section 25.06, Penal Code;
                           (v)  Section 43.25, Penal Code; or
                           (vi)  Section 20A.02(a)(7), 20A.02(a)(8),
  or 20A.03, Penal Code;
                     (D)  an offense described by Article 62.001(6)(C)
  or (D), Code of Criminal Procedure; and
                     (E)  criminal actions against persons who are
  detained as provided by Section 51.12, Family Code, after transfer
  for prosecution in criminal court under Section 54.02, Family Code;
               (3)  election contests and suits under the Election
  Code;
               (4)  orders for the protection of the family under
  Subtitle B, Title 4, Family Code;
               (5)  appeals of final rulings and decisions of the
  division of workers’ compensation of the Texas Department of
  Insurance regarding workers’ compensation claims and claims under
  the Federal Employers’ Liability Act and the Jones Act;
               (6)  appeals of final orders of the commissioner of the
  General Land Office under Section 51.3021, Natural Resources Code;
               (7)  actions in which the claimant has been diagnosed
  with malignant mesothelioma, other malignant asbestos-related
  cancer, malignant silica-related cancer, or acute silicosis; and
               (8)  appeals brought under Section 42.01 or 42.015, Tax
  Code, of orders of appraisal review boards of appraisal districts
  established for counties with a population of less than 175,000.
         (b-1)  The trial courts of this state shall prioritize over
  any other proceeding pending or filed in the court a proceeding for
  injunctive relief under Chapter 273, Election Code, based on
  alleged conduct constituting an offense under Chapter 276, Election
  Code, pending or filed in the court on or after the 60th day before a
  general or special election.
         (b-2)  The court on written request of any party to a case set
  under Section 23.301 shall hold a hearing on a proceeding described
  by Subsection (b-1). A hearing under this subsection shall begin as
  soon as practicable but not later than 24 hours after the court
  receives the hearing request. The hearing may be held in person or
  through electronic means.
         SECTION 6.04.  Chapter 23, Government Code, is amended by
  adding Subchapter D to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER D. GENERAL PROVISIONS
         Sec. 23.301.  ASSIGNMENT OF CERTAIN ELECTION PROCEEDINGS;
  CRIMINAL OFFENSE. (a) In this section, “public official” has the
  meaning assigned by Section 1.005(15-a), Election Code.
         (b)  Notwithstanding any other law or rule, the clerk of a
  district court in which a proceeding entitled to priority under
  Section 23.101(b-1) is filed shall docket the proceeding and, if
  more than one district court in the county has jurisdiction over the
  proceeding, randomly assign the proceeding to a district court
  using an automated assignment system.
         (c)  Notwithstanding any other law or rule, the clerk of a
  county court or statutory county court in which a proceeding
  entitled to priority under Section 23.101(b-1) is filed shall
  docket the proceeding and, if more than one court in the county has
  jurisdiction over the proceeding, randomly assign the proceeding to
  a court using an automated assignment system.
         (d)  A person, including a public official, commits an
  offense if the person communicates with a county or district clerk
  with the intention of influencing or attempting to influence the
  court or judge assigned to a proceeding under this section.
         (e)  An offense under this section is a state jail felony.
  ARTICLE 7. REPEALER; SEVERABILITY; TRANSITION; EFFECTIVE DATE
         SECTION 7.01.  The following provisions of the Election Code
  are repealed:
               (1)  Section 86.0052(b); and
               (2)  Section 86.0105(b).
         SECTION 7.02.  If any provision of this Act or its
  application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the
  invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of this
  Act that can be given effect without the invalid provision or
  application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are declared
  to be severable.
         SECTION 7.03.  The changes in law made by this Act apply only
  to an offense committed on or after the effective date of this Act.
  An offense committed before the effective date of this Act is
  governed by the law in effect when the offense was committed, and
  the former law is continued in effect for that purpose. For
  purposes of this section, an offense was committed before the
  effective date of this Act if any element of the offense occurred
  before that date.
         SECTION 7.04.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.