FNC’s Wallace to Gov. Abbott: Is the Point of TX Law to ‘Suppress Voting by People of Color?’

Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday’s broadcast of “Fox News Sunday” grilled Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) about new voting restrictions.

Partial transcript as follows:

WALLACE: The Texas attorney general’s office spent 22,000 man-hours looking for evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election and they apparently came up with 16 cases — 16 — of people filing false addresses on their voter registration. So, my question, Governor, is, is this a problem in search of a solution?

ABBOTT: Absolutely not, Chris. Remember this, and that was before that I was governor, I was the attorney general of Texas and I prosecuted voter fraud cases in the entire state and my successor, Ken Paxton, has been prosecuting voter fraud across the state, including the most recent arrests and indictments just taken place this past Friday.

However, I have to disagree with the statement that was just made as well as the public perception because I’m going to give you the words of a federal district judge appointed by Barack Obama and the federal district judge said that voter fraud occurs, quote, “in abundance” as it involves ballot harvesting.

On top of that, Barack Obama and the Biden demonstration, when they were in office, they came down to the state of Texas to send an FBI team as well as a U.S. attorney to investigate and to prosecute a voter fraud scheme where cocaine was being used to buy absentee ballots.

I will tell you this also, Chris, and that is even Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives, they agree that as it concerns mail-in ballots, that is an area where improving the mail-in ballot system is a way to achieve greater election integrity, so what Texas is doing is we’re making it easier to vote by adding more hours of early voting then we had in current law, but also making it harder to cheat with regard to mail-in ballots.

WALLACE: Well, Governor, let me ask you, though, about two other things that the GOP bills would do. I want to put them up on the screen. They would ban 24-hour voting and they would ban drive-through voting. Now, there was no allegation of any fraud in either of those. Harris County, the Houston area, employed both of those and more than half of the voters who showed up were people of color. So, you say you want to make it easier to vote, that’s going to make it harder to vote and the question is why make it harder for some Texans to vote unless the point is to suppress voting by people of color?

ABBOTT: So you mentioned a couple of things that need to be responded to. One, you mentioned how Harris County did this and it was Harris County — for your viewers, Harris County is where Houston, Texas, is located. Now, let’s go back to Article 1, Section 4 of the United States Constitution where it says in there that it is the states, not counties that have the authority to regulate elections.

And despite that constitutional mandate, this past election, Harris County, a county, tried to create its own election system that had never been used in the state of Texas. It was not used in the other parts of the state of Texas, and so what the state of Texas is doing —

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: But, Governor, why not — why not let it go on?

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Governor, I guess the question is if 24-hour voting worked, why not continue it?

ABBOTT: Well, first, I can tell — I’m going to answer questions specifically, but you need to go back to elections before now because the same allegations were made when Texas passed a voter ID law, and everyone said the exact same thing, this is going to disenfranchise people of color, it will reduce voting. And the fact of the matter is, after we passed voter ID, we increasingly saw every election cycle, more people go voted, they did not make it harder to go vote. It was easier to go vote.

And the same thing applies here and that is with 24-hour voting, one thing that we want to make sure that we have is integrity in the ballot box system and we need to have poll watchers and monitors and, candidly, it’s hard even for a county to get people to be watching the polls 24 hours a day. We are providing more hours per day for voting to make sure that anybody of any type of background, any type of working situation, is going to have the opportunity to go vote.

With regard to the drive-thru voting — listen, this violates the fundamentals of the way voting and for integrity has always bee achieved and that is the sanctity of the ballot box. Now, if you do drive-thru voting, are you going to have people in the car with you and it could be somebody from your employer, or somebody else, who may have some coercive effect on the way that you would cast your ballot which is contrary to, you go into the ballot box alone and no one there watching over your shoulder so that your — the way you vote, only you will know what that vote will be. And to allow other people to pile into a car with you, it will alter that.

In addition to, it would violate state law because in state law, we have prohibitions on electioneering close to where people cast their votes. If you’re doing drive-thru voting, this is going to be electioneering. It could be on the bumper sticker in the car right in front of you.

We do still, however, Chris, provide what’s called curbside voting for those who qualify for curbside voting, that continues to be in place.

The bottom line, Chris, is Harris County, under the Constitution, is not allowed to come up with their own rules. What Texas is doing where, by adding more hours, we’re making it easier for people (ph) to go vote.

One last point, Chris, and that is if you look at the hours of voting that Texas provides, it is far more hours of voting than exists in the state where our current president voted in where they had exactly zero hours of early voting. It’s far easier to vote in the state of Texas than it is in Delaware and yet nobody is claiming that there is some type of voter suppression taking place in Delaware.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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