Two bills filed in the Texas House of Representatives seek to expand the Texas attorney general’s power to prosecute election crimes. One allows the office to appoint special prosecutors to such cases, while the other empowers the office to penalize local prosecutors who “limit election law enforcement.”
Although no evidence of widespread voter fraud has been found, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been actively pursuing election-related crimes since he took office in 2015. In at least the past two years, his office opened more than 300 investigations of potential crimes by voters and election officials but has successfully convicted only a handful. Experts and voting rights advocates say the bills would continue to empower state officials to scrutinize elections administrators, ignite more lawsuits and intimidate voters. …
Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas, said the bills would also hamper election worker recruitment.
“The potential for prosecution if you mess something up, that Ken Paxton just decides is not a mistake but a violation of the law, is going to dissuade voters and also the people who are qualified to do those [election administration] jobs from wanting to do those jobs,” he said.