HB 1086

85(R) - 2017
House Elections
House Elections

Vote Recommendation

Vote No; Amend
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral


Craig Goldman

Bill Caption

Relating to increasing the penalty for unlawful participation in a primary election or convention. 

Fiscal Notes

From the LBB: No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated. 

Bill Analysis

This bill would make unlawful participation in a primary election (i.e., voting in more than one party's primary) or convention a state jail felony rather than a Class C misdemeanor as it currently is.

Vote Recommendation Notes

Voter fraud is a serious crime which infringes on the liberty of others by diminishing the value of their vote and, if done on a large enough scale, could undermine the integrity of our free and fair elections. That being said, jumping from a Class C misdemeanor which is basically the equivalent of a speeding ticket to a state jail felony which requires at least 180 days in confinement is a significant jump.

When we consider overcriminalization some things we look at are the proportionality of the penalty and the degree to which the penalty of a current crime is escalated. This bill would entirely skip the Class B and Class A misdemeanor levels which both carry the possibility but not guarantee a defendant will serve jail time. For example, a Class B misdemeanor allows for up to 180 days confinement in jail whereas a state jail felony mandates no less than 180 days in jail.

For these reasons we oppose HB 1086 unless amended to raise the penalty to a higher level misdemeanor rather than a state jail felony for a first time offense. We would support passage of the bill if so amended.