Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is asking his state legislature to increase the penalty for anyone convicted of illegal voting.
Abbott’s call for a stiffer penalty comes less than a month after he signed an elections reform bill that lowered the maximum penalty, The Texas Tribune noted.
Under that bill, illegal voting was scheduled to go from a second-degree felony to a Class A misdemeanor in December. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year behind bars. However, they can be resolved with a fine, the Tribune said. In Texas, a second-degree felony is punishable by up to 20 years in jail.
In a tweet, the Republican governor said: “I’m adding increased illegal voting penalties to the Special Session agenda.
“The State of Texas has made tremendous progress in upholding the integrity of our elections. Increasing penalties for illegal voting will send an even clearer message that voter fraud will not be tolerated in Texas.”
And his office noted that he had submitted a message to the secretary of the state Senate asking for the increase in the penalty.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick applauded Abbott’s move and said he discovered the problem, along with the governor and state Attorney General Ken Paxton.
He tweeted: “Thanks @GovAbbott for placing a correction to amd. on SB1, which decreases the penalty for voting illegally, on the call. The House added last minute & went under the radar until Gov., @TXAG & I found it & agreed then it must be corrected. The Senate will pass next week.”
Abbott had signed the bill into law on Sept. 7, which mandates sweeping election changes.
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