Casting His Vote: Governor Touts Election Integrity Bills

Governor Greg Abbott was in Houston this week to push for election integrity legislation. The governor joined State Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) and State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park), who have both filed legislation aimed at preventing voter fraud and tightening up voter laws in Texas. Among other things, the bills would set uniform voting days and hours, require registered voters to list a physical address, and limit mail-in voting and curbside voting to those with verified disabilities or specific qualifications. Abbott said he is making the bills priority legislation for this session.

During his remarks, Abbott made particular mention of Harris County, which used the guise of "election reform" to expand early voting hours, mail-in, drive-thru, and curbside voting last year. "Texas law does allow curbside voting as an option only for certain voters, but election officials in Harris County set up drive-through polling places for any voter," he said.

Sen. Bettencourt also called out Harris County for trying to send absentee ballots to all two million registered voters in the county. "No, we're not a universal absentee ballot state," said Bettencourt. "And more importantly, we didn't need those two million absentee ballots to set a record voter total in Harris County."

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo responded, calling Bettencourt's legislation "a solution in search of a problem."

"It is just a continuation of the big lie being peddled by some far right elements, that the election in 2020 was somehow not true and needs to be overturned," said Hidalgo.

But Cain argued the legislation is about protecting the rights of all legal voters and all legal votes. "True voter suppression is when an ineligible voter casts a ballot," he said. "When an ineligible voter casts a ballot, what they're actually doing is silencing the voice of someone who is eligible to vote. It's wrong, and we should stop it."

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