Democrats continue to criticize Abbott for voter suppression bills

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Democrats and local elected officials continue to sound the alarm on a series of sweeping voter suppression bills being backed by Gov. Greg Abbott.

“We don’t have voter fraud in Texas but we did have massive systemwide grid failure, statewide power outages, bursted water pipes, no water and high electricity bills,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in a Tuesday morning tweet. “Now I understand why some elected officials are trying to limit and restrict people’s right to vote.”

In a series of tweets, Fort Bend County Judge KP George said that Fort Bend Commissioners Court unanimously expanded voting in the county and said Abbott is on the wrong side of history.

“People voted like never before in Texas this year,” George said. “That why Gov. Abbott is working double-time to suppress the vote. Imagine if State Leadership spent this much effort on fixing infrastructure or the catastrophic scale failures of ERCOT.”

Texas House Democrats held a press conference on Monday responding to the governor’s visit to Houston where he touted support for the two bills, SB 7 and HB 6, two companion pieces of legislation that would prevent local elected officials from implementing drive-thru voting, 24-hour voting, as well as stop county clerks and election administrators from sending out mail ballot applications unless they are specially requested — codifying the Texas Supreme Court’s decision that put a stop to Harris County’s massive mail ballot push. 

“We have a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist, and that solution will take away people’s right to vote and ability to cast their ballot,” said Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston), chair of the Legislative Study Group. “This has been the MO of the Republican Party and Donald Trump and the people who believe that voting is not a right, that it’s a privilege for their particular group of people.”

“Two weeks ago, the Secretary of State’s Office stood in front of the House Committee on Elections and told us Texas’ 2020 elections were a success, and that they were smooth and secure,” said Rep. John Bucy (D-Austin), member of the House Elections Committee. “What has changed in the last two weeks? Voting rights should not be politicized for personal gain.”

Abbot himself was unable to give a clear answer as to the severity of election fraud in Texas when pressed over the issue on Monday. He could only say that incidents of voter fraud occurred. 

“Right now, I don’t know how many or if any elections in the State of Texas in 2020 were altered because of voter fraud,” the governor said. “What we look for and what we’ve seen in the past is election fraud takes place. I have no doubt it took place here in Texas. We wait for allegations to be made. We don’t root it out, ourselves. Allegations are submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office, as well as the Attorney General’s Office, and investigations are conducted.”

In 2020, the Houston Chronicle reported that Texas Attorney Ken Paxton found only 16 cases of voter fraud in the general election out of more than 11 million votes. 

Photo: Edward A. Ornelas/Getty Images

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