Abbott Calls for Election Integrity Bills
After naming election integrity as an emergency item this session in his February State of the State address, Governor Greg Abbott was joined by Senator Paul Bettencourt and Representative Briscoe Cain at a press conference in Houston to discuss the topic.
Following an acknowledgement that he was unaware of any fraud that happened in Texas during the 2020 Election, Abbott went one to declare: “One thing all of us should agree on is that we must have trust and confidence in the outcome of our elections. The fact is, voter fraud does occur.”
The Governor discussed the need to pass laws to prevent election officials from jeopardizing the election process and encouraging voter fraud through the abuse of mail ballots and drive-thru voting. He also called for more transparency at the polls by ensuring that poll watchers in Texas are not obstructed from observing the counting of ballots.
Abbott urged unity in support of Texas House Bill 6, before going on to criticize Houston’s “unauthorized attempts to expand voting” in response to the pandemic.
Abbott has previously come under fire for his approach to safeguarding elections. During the November elections, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins expressed outrage at the governor’s order that limited the number of places voters can drop-off their mail-in ballots to one per county. Hollins stated: “to force hundreds of thousands of seniors and voters with disabilities to use a single drop-off location in a county that stretches over nearly 2,000 square miles is prejudicial and dangerous.”
In today’s press conference, Abbott resurfaced the dispute, likening attempts to broaden voter turnout to ballot harvesting.
“The [Harris County] Elections Clerk attempted to send unsolicited mail-in ballot applications to millions of voters, many of whom would not be eligible to vote by mail,” Abbott said. “Election officials should be working to stop potential mail ballot fraud — not facilitate it.”
Both Senator Paul Bettencourt and Representative Briscoe Cain have filed several controversial pieces of legislation to enhance election integrity in Texas. Abbott urged lawmakers to back these measures against election fraud.