By Trent Ashby
District 57 Repsentative
The tragedy and senseless act of violence that took the precious lives of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde leaves us all with heavy hearts.
As Texans grieve over this unspeakable loss, we grapple with the unfortunate reality that something this catastrophic can take place in our own backyard. In a place where children are meant to prosper and feel protected, no parent should ever have to carry the inescapable concern of losing their child at school.
As a father, I send my deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers to the families of the twenty-one people who lost their lives. As Texans and as Americans, it is my sincere hope that we come together to find sensible and thoughtful solutions to address the all-to-common occurrence of mass shootings that currently plague our society.
As we mourn the loss of life and grieve alongside our fellow Texans, I'd like to share a verse in scripture that I hope will resonate in the hearts and minds of all those affected by this tragedy:
"Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men … Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:17-18;21.
In the wake of our most recent primary runoff elections, I thought it would be appropriate to cover the House Committee on Elections for this week’s examination of House Interim Committees and charges.
The House Committee on Elections has the important duty of overseeing the Texas Ethics Commission and the Texas Secretary of State. This nine-member committee has jurisdiction over voting rights, state elections, election code, and campaign finances.
Over the interim, this Committee will spend time keeping an eye on relevant legislation passed in the 87th Legislature and study recent changes to election procedures.
If you're a Texan who is eligible to vote by mail, you can now track the status of your ballot with a digital tool on the Texas Secretary of State's website. Enacted under HB 1382, the Committee will examine this new tool to ensure it is working as intended.
Allowing voters to check their mail-in status eliminates the uncertainty that your vote didn't get counted, thus increasing accessibility transparency, and turnout. The Committee on Elections will also review the implementation of HB 1622, which seeks to increase transparency and efficiency in the elections process by allowing voters to file a complaint with the Secretary of State if early voting turnout numbers are not posted in a timely manner.
Current law requires early voting clerks to maintain a roster listing the number of people who voted during each day of early voting. The daily roster must be submitted to the Secretary of State and posted publicly on the Secretary of State's website.
Ensuring these posting requirements are met in a timely manner helps both administrators and the Secretary of State monitor vote totals for accuracy to identify any problems or irregularities, which helps maintain the integrity of our electoral process.
This Committee is also charged with studying laws related to local ballot initiatives and propositions to assess whether reforms are needed to ensure ballot language is clear, consistent, and easy to understand.
When Texans have an opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment or a local proposition, at times, the wording may be difficult to comprehend, leaving voters unsure as to whether they support the measure.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will be posting regular updates on what's happening in your State Capitol and sharing information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.
Trent Ashby represents District 57, soon to be District 9, which includes Trinity County, in the Texas Legislature.