U.S. Rep. Colin Allred introduced the Protecting Election Administration from Interference Act of 2021 to the House of Representatives on Aug. 20.

The bill, which was also introduced in the U.S. Senate, would “improve our democracy by establishing greater safeguards against potential election subversion efforts to ensure elections and vote counting are performed fairly, transparently and without partisan influence,” according to a press release.

It would extend existing prohibitions on intimidating or threatening voters to election officials involved in counting ballots, canvassing and certifying results. The bill would also prevent anyone from damaging the preservation and security of cast ballots. Lastly, it would allow the Justice Department and candidates to bring lawsuits to ensure election record requirements are being followed.

“There is no more serious threat to our free and fair elections than the potential for subversion and interference by people looking to overturn an election,” said Allred, a Hillcrest High School alumnus.

The bill was introduced after the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 1 earlier this month. Opposed by Democratic legislators, civil rights groups and many advocates for people with disabilities, it sets limits on voting processes. For example, it enhances partisan poll watchers’ freedoms inside polling locations, sets new rules for those who assist voters casting their ballots and outlaws local voting options such as 24-hour voting and drive-thru voting.

At the same time, SB 1 calls for the addition of one hour of required early voting hours and lowers the population threshold needed for counties to provide at least 12 hours of voting during the second week of early voting during state elections.

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.