AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas House gave initial approval Monday to a bill that would send the names of noncitizens who opted out of jury service to the attorney general for potential investigation of voter fraud.
Senate Bill 155 would require the secretary of state to compare voter rolls with the list of individuals who opted out of jury service for reasons of being a noncitizen or non-resident of a county and provide that list to the attorney general.
Democrats argued the legislation would give the attorney general too much power and would complicate the voting process for new citizens.
“In order for these 100,000 Texans who become citizens every year, they would have to have a separate approval, a separate showing of evidence before they’re allowed to exercise their right to vote. Otherwise, they’re under threat of criminalization,” said Rep. Gene Wu, a Houston Democrat.
Democrats also likened the legislation to the failed effort by then-Secretary of State David Whitley to purge voter rolls of noncitizens in 2019. Whitley later resigned from his position.
The legislation passed on second reading in the Texas House after already clearing the upper chamber. Another vote is needed in the House before the bill heads back to the Senate or a conference committee to work out differences made by House members to the initial proposal.