Austin, Texas
April 6, 2009

Honorable Todd Smith, Chair, House Committee on Elections
John S. O'Brien, Director, Legislative Budget Board
HB3556 by Bonnen (Relating to requiring a voter to present proof of identification.), As Introduced

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

The bill would make various changes to the Elections Code regarding voter identification. Among the changes would be a requirement that the voter registrar of each county provide with each initial voter registration certificate or renewal registration certificate issued, notice of identification requirements for voting. The Secretary of State (SOS) would be required to prescribe the wording of the notice. Another new requirement would be that the SOS and the voter registrar of each county that maintains a website to post on the website notice of the identification requirements. The SOS would prescribe the wording of the notice to be sent with the registration certificates for of the website notice.

Provisions of the bill would require training standards to include instructions on the acceptance and handling of the identification presented by a voter to an election officer. Each election clerk would be required to complete the part of training that covers identification. The SOS would be required to adopt the training standards and develop training materials as soon as practicable after September 1, 2009. Each county clerk would be required to provide a session of training using the standards adopted by and the materials developed by the SOS as soon as practicable as well.

Effective January 1, 2010, the bill would require the presiding judge at each polling place to post in a prominent location outside of the location a list of the acceptable forms of identification. The bill would add to the list of acceptable forms of identification. If identification requirements are not met by a voter, an election officer would be required to inform the voter that they may cast a provisional ballot. An affadavit is required for casting a provisional ballot; the bill would require that a form for an affidavit be printed on an envelope in which the provisional ballot may be placed and include a space for entering the identification number. Effective January 1, 2010, a provisional ballot may be accepted only if certain requirements provided in the bill are met.

Exept as otherwise indicated, the bill would take effect September 1, 2009.

Based on the analysis by the Secretary of State, it is assumed that costs associated with provisions of the bill can be absorbed within existing resources.

Local Government Impact

Based on responses from a sampling of election authorities and county clerks, fiscal impact from implementing provisions of the bill would vary by county. Costs would include at a minimum those for printing signs to post at each polling place, which would not be significant. Other potential costs would be associated with additional training and posting information to the county website. Again, those costs are not expected to be significant. One smaller county response anticipates that the new provisions regarding casting a provisional ballot would require hiring additional staff, resulting in a moderate to significant cost.

Source Agencies:
307 Secretary of State, 405 Department of Public Safety
LBB Staff: