No, a proposed bill does not allow elections to be overturned across Texas | Fact check

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The claim: New law lets Texas secretary of state overturn any state election results

A May 3 Facebook post (direct link, archive link) makes a claim about a purported new Texas law.

"The Governor of Texas Greg Abbott (R) has just signed a bill that gives the Secretary of State the power to cancel election results," reads part of the post. "So if they don’t like the results in any district, any county, or across the state, they can refuse to recognize them altogether. So if their party doesn’t win an election anywhere in their state, they can ask for a do-over until they get what they want as opposed to how their constituents may vote."

Similar claims have generated hundreds of interactions on Twitter and Facebook.

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Our rating: False

The post is misrepresenting a Texas bill that hasn't been signed into law. The bill only allows the Texas Secretary of State to authorize a new election in counties with a population of 2.7 million or more if at least 2% of the total number of polling places in the county ran out of usable ballots. The bill applies to one county in Texas.

Proposed bill doesn't allow elections to be overturned across Texas

The claim is referencing Texas Senate Bill 1993, which passed the Texas Senate with unanimous Republican support and was referred to the House Elections Committee on May 6. Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has not signed the bill into law, contrary to the post’s claim.

The bill doesn’t allow the Texas secretary of state to overturn elections across the state either, according to Joshua Blank, director of research for the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

Rather, the bill says that the secretary of state can order a new election in a county with a population of 2.7 million or more if they have “good cause” to believe that at least 2% of the total number of polling places in the county ran out of usable ballots during voting hours and did not receive supplemental ballots for one or more hours after making a request.

"It's definitely false to say that Republican elected officials or their appointees can redo elections as many times as they want, based on the results of the election, or this bill,” Blank said.

At present, the bill only applies to Harris County, which has about 4.7 million residents and is the largest county in Texas as of July 2022, according to the Census Bureau. The county − once seen as a Republican stronghold − is now primarily left-leaning, according to the University of Houston.

The next-largest county is Dallas County, which had a 2022 population of 2.6 million, just below the bill's cutoff.

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The bill was prompted by the claim that Harris County ran out of paper ballots during the 2022 election in some precincts, Blank said. KHOU reported in January that "121 voting centers did not initially receive enough ballot paper to cover voter turnout."

Republicans, including Abbott, have cited the 121 figure as the basis for some election bills targeted at Harris County, according to the Houston Chronicle. But the outlet reported that while it found that 119 out of 782 polling places initially did not receive enough ballots − similar to KHOU's analysis − only 20 locations "showed signs of a paper shortage."

"Eighty-nine locations did not appear to have run out of paper, meaning they steadily checked in voters when they would have run out of paper through the end of the day, though shortages may have occurred," the outlet reported.

A spokesperson for Republican Texas state Sen. Mayes Middleton, the author of the bill, did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.

USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas bill lets officials redo elections in Harris County | Fact check