Gov Perry Vetoes SB 722 Relating to Interpreters At the Polls

The Gov also vetoed SB 722, which would have allowed the authority conducting an election to select the interpreter who would assist a voter. An excerpt from Perry’s statement:

Ensuring the integrity of our state’s election process is a key component of providing a system of fair, open and honest elections. Under current law, if a voter cannot communicate with poll workers in a common language, the voter is entitled to use an interpreter of the voter’s choice who is a registered voter in that county. Often, this is a family member or other person in whom the voter personally has confidence.

SB 722 would allow the authority conducting the election to select the interpreter, thus subjecting the voter to someone with whom they are not familiar. While an interpreter selected by the voter could not be the voter’s employer, agent of the employer or agent of the voter’s labor union, there would be no such bar on interpreters appointed by the entity conducting the election. In an election where the entity is an employer of many voters, such as a school bond election, this could lead to the perception of undue influence, as an administrator or other person with authority over likely voters is allowed to be present at the polls.

Update: Reaction from supporters of the bill, who see things differently (via Houston Chronicle’s Texas Politics blog).