© 2023 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

House Lawmakers Debate Online Voter Registration

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio
TPR News

A committee of House lawmakers heard the reasons why the state of Texas would be better served with an online voter registration system, but some groups remain skeptical about the possibility of voter fraud.

As of April, 19 states offer online voter registration. Last legislative session Texas came very close to passing their own version but it was not added the calendar for a final vote. In this period between sessions, lawmakers are re-considering the same thing.  

David Becker is with the Pew Research Group and testified how this is working in other states. He said online voter registration reduces incidents of voter fraud because there is not a third party involved.

“Another big advantage of online registration is its accuracy, because voters are directly putting their information in you get a lot less data entry errors. All of that is going to be correct and often checked against the motor vehicles data base,” Becker said.

Those wanting to register online in Texas would still be required to possess a state issued ID or voter ID. That fact has Republicans seated on the House Elections Committee confused by Democrats who support this requirement for online registration but are not not in favor of voter ID.   

“As to why some of my colleagues have such an issue with people having that same information in order vote, that’s the thing we’re going to have to end up reconciling”, said Carrollton Republican Rep. Ron Simmons

Others like Skipper Wallace with the Texas Republican County Chairmen’s Association worry about a data breach.

“I heard this statement awhile ago that there has been no incidences of voter fraud in any of these states that have used online systems," Wallace said. "I think that’s very naïve. I think they just haven’t found it out yet.”

Which is the leading reason why the state of Texas implemented what experts label as the most restrictive voter ID system in the country. Opponents of that plan argue voter ID and it’s use for online registration limits access to the ballot box. 

Since voter ID went into effect the state has issued 286 election identification certificates (EIC), which are available for free at DPS offices . The state has had two elections in that time frame. Opponents to voter ID point out that 81 counties in Texas do not have a DPS office where people could go to the voter ID card.  

Lawmakers will have to work through many of these conflicts before the 2015 session if Texas is to pass it’s own online voter registration law.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.