- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Senate has given final approval to a bill increasing criminal penalties for stealing someone else’s mail-in ballot, part of an attempt to curb absentee voting fraud.

Gov. Greg Abbott convened a special legislative session to tackle a number of conservative priorities, including mail-in voter fraud.

Disabled Texans, or those 65 or older, or who will be out of their home counties on Election Day, can vote by mail.

Passed 21-10 on Wednesday, the bill by Republican Sen. Kelly Hancock of North Richland Hills makes mail-in voter fraud punishable by up to a year behind bars and a $4,000 fine. It now heads to the Texas House.

Hancock’s bill also increases signature verification rules and requires that voters be officially notified if their ballots are declared invalid.

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