'Ballot harvesting' bill flares tensions in House

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Associated Press

Posted on April 26, 2013 at 1:06 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 26 at 7:05 AM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A proposal to criminalize "ballot harvesting" of mail-in votes has renewed tensions in the Texas House over voting rights.

The bill targets what Republicans say is rife with potential voting fraud: political individuals or groups — often called ballot harvesters — that collect and mail completed early ballots. They typically seek out voters who need help, such as the disabled or those living in assisted residences.

A proposal Thursday by Republican state Rep. Cindy Burkett caps the number of ballots an individual could mail at 10. Critics say ballot harvesting preys on a vulnerable population and invites the risk of voter fraud.

The proposal cleared a preliminary House vote after two hours of debate.

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