Pursuant to Article IV, Section 14, of the Texas Constitution, I, Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, do hereby disapprove of and veto Senate Bill No. 722 as passed by the Eighty-Third Texas Legislature, Regular Session, because of the following objections:
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.
Moreover, the elimination of the requirement that an interpreter selected by the voter be from the county will lead to the likelihood of undue influence being placed on the voter to agree to "select" activists from outside the area with whom the voter is not familiar.
The current system provides appropriate safeguards and ensures the integrity of our election system. This system should be retained.
Since the Eighty-Third Texas Legislature, Regular Session, by its adjournment has prevented the return of this bill, I am filing these objections in the office of the Secretary of State and giving notice thereof by this public proclamation according to the aforementioned constitutional provision.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have signed my name officially and caused the Seal of the State to be affixed hereto at Austin, this 14th day of June, 2013.
Governor of Texas