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State Senate Democrat Carol Alvarado talked through the night in an attempt to filibuster the bill.

The Texas Senate on Thursday morning passed the elections bill that state Democrats have attempted several times to prevent from becoming law.

Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Carol Alvarado filibustered the bill for 15-hours in the latest long shot attempt to prevent its passage, but the chamber endured and passed the legislation by a vote of 18-11 this morning. Filibuster rules required Alvarado to remain standing, addressing the chamber on exclusively the subject of the bill, without bathroom breaks or food. 

The attempt came one day after Dade Phelan, the Republican Speaker of the Texas House authorized arrest warrants for the 52 Democrats who have failed to show up for the second special session this summer of the Texas legislature, thereby denying the chamber a quorum. 

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The bill, which state Senator Bryan Hughes (R) says contains “simple, common sense reforms,” like preventing 24-hour drive through voting, has met ample opposition from the Democratic party, who say it is a restrictive bill meant to suppress and intimidate marginalized voters. 

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Election

California voters can download ballots at home for recall, sparking security concerns

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The California Secretary of State’s Office has made downloading mail ballots from home possible for the recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom. The state legislature also passed a measure to send out mail ballots to every registered voter regardless if they asked for one or not.

The state legislature also passed a measure to send out mail ballots to every registered voter regardless if they asked for one or not.

The methods being employed by the state add to concerns already raised by a group that brought up potential voter fraud issues during the 2020 general election.

Downloading mail ballots from home is made possible through technology used during the 2020 election, the Secretary of State’s Office reports.

The system includes two options, one for the entire state and one for Los Angeles County. The statewide system is called, “Remote Accessible Vote-By-Mail (RAVBM),” which enables voters to fill out ballots online, print them out themselves, and either put in the mail or drop off at a polling location.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, there were “four certified RAVBM systems” for the November 2020 vote: “Five Cedars Group Alternate Format Ballot v5.2.1, Democracy Live Secure Select 1.2.2, Dominion Voting Systems Dominion ImageCast Remote 5.10A, and Los Angeles County Voting Solution for All People Interactive Sample Ballot 2.5.”

Even though RAVBM was created to be used by voters with disabilities, “any voter” could request to use it in 2020.

The Los Angeles County option, the Interactive Sample Ballot (ISB), enables voters to fill out a sample ballot online, which generates a “poll pass.” The pass can be printed out or voters can download a QR code and then vote using a “Ballot Marking Device” at a polling location.

L.A. County produced instructional videos explaining how to use RAVBM and ISB. It also sent voters a sample ballot stating the ISB system was designed to simplify voting because of the “large number of candidates [43, other than the governor himself] appearing on the ballot” in the recall election.

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The Election Integrity Project California (EIPCa), a nonpartisan nonprofit organization advocating for the right of every eligible citizen to vote in California, purchased VoteCal voter registration and voting history files and after auditing them raised concerns about California’s election system. The group published a list of questionable mail ballots sent out during the 2020 general election to deceased Californians and those no longer living in California. It also learned that 13 California counties have more registered voters than eligible citizens.

The group sent a letter to the Secretary of State’s Office last year raising concerns about the number of registered voters compared to the number who voted in the 2020 election. It found that California had 1.8 million more registered voters than eligible citizens in the last election, and that nearly 124,000 more votes were counted in California’s 2020 general election than voters recorded as voting in the election.

According to EIPCa’s evaluation, Los Angeles County has 206,728 registrants who have not voted or updated their registrations since November 2008 who are listed as “active” voters and could receive mail ballots in the mail.

EIPCa says it uses precise methods that err on the side of caution and that its findings likely underestimate the state’s election problem.

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