WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas. — Texas members of Citizens Defending Freedom, a non-profit that helps American citizens defend their faith and freedom, are celebrating after their efforts led directly to Texas House and Senate passing a bill that protects election integrity.
After an intense pressure campaign from Citizens Defending Freedom, HB 5180 passed the Texas state Senate on May 24. The bill ensures that cast vote records and digital images of all voted ballots are made available to the public the day after election canvassing is finished or no later than the 15th day after the election. The new measure is meant to ensure that citizens have access to voting records, which they can use to inspect for fraud.
Williamson County Citizens Defending Freedom Executive Director Marcia Strickler-Watson and the Election Integrity team members spearheaded and drove the group’s efforts.
Before the language was added to the bill, Citizens Defending Freedom members testified before the Texas House Elections Committee, asking that their measure to protect election integrity was added to the bill.
Though Republican members of the House Elections Committee agreed that the language should be added to the bill, it escaped the House without being added. In a 48 hour period before the bill was sent to the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee for a vote, Citizens Defending Freedom members worked with state State House bill author Rep. Terry Wilson (R-District 20) and the State Senate to ensure that the amendment was added via a substitute bill by the Senate bill carrier, State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-District 1).
Members of the organization testified in front of the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee before they put the amended bill to a vote. Video of their testimony can be found here. The final bill language passed the full Texas Senate and House and is now on Governor Greg Abbott’s desk to sign into Texas law.
“Our efforts prove that with persistence, the voices of ordinary citizens can be heard,” said Strickler-Watson. “It was not an easy process for us to have this amendment added to the bill, but we persevered, nonetheless. This has been a rewarding experience for all of us who were involved, and we hope that our work will inspire others to make their voices heard.”
“This is a huge win for transparency in Texas’ elections,” said James Judge, national spokesman for Citizens Defending Freedom. “Now, any Texan can inspect cast vote records, which will make it much easier for the residents of Texas to ensure that there is no fraudulent activity in their elections. As the 2024 election cycle ramps up, Citizens Defending Freedom is happy that this new layer of security has been added, and is grateful to the Texas state legislature for listening to the voices of its constituents.”