Texas governor can't prove voter fraud but wants voting restrictions anyway

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants to make it a felony to encourage absentee ballot applications.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday held a news conference to promote an "election integrity" bill in Texas that makes it a felony for election officials to distribute absentee ballot applications to people who do not request them.

Abbot said the bill — which also gives more rights to poll watchers — is necessary to promote "integrity."

Abbott said at the news conference that, "One thing all of us should agree on is that we must have trust and confidence in the outcome of our elections," adding that, "the fact is, voter fraud does occur."

However, Abbott could not provide any actual proof of voter fraud in the 2020 election — dodging the question when asked to cite instances of fraud.

In fact, Abbott only said that he saw things in the 2020 election that "could risk the integrity of our elections" — meaning that he did not say voter fraud occurred, despite pushing for new legislation to make it harder to vote.

Texas is one of several GOP-run states looking to ramp up restrictions on voting following Donald Trump's election loss — which Trump and his Republican allies falsely blamed on fraud and mail-in voting abuse.

However, William Barr, the Trump administration's own attorney general, said there was no evidence of any voter fraud in the 2020 election that would have altered the outcome of the race.

Nevertheless, Texas Republican state lawmakers have introduced a bevy of voter suppression bills in recent weeks seeking to fix a problem that does not exist.

One particularly restrictive bill introduced last week would require disabled voters to provide proof of their disability in order to vote by mail. In addition, the bill would cut back on voting methods intended to make it easier to vote, as well as limit the amount of time voters have to cast ballots.

The Texas Civil Rights Project called the bill "a shameless attack on voting rights that would make it harder for Texans with disabilities, people of color, elderly Texans, and youth to vote."

Voting rights advocates have been sounding the alarm about the GOP effort to make it harder to vote, calling the hundreds of voter suppression bills Republican state lawmakers across the country have introduced since the beginning of the year the "largest state-level legislative attack on voting since the end of Jim Crow."

In order to try to stop the onslaught of voter suppression laws, Democrats in the House passed H.R. 1, a sweeping pro-democracy bill that requires states to implement automatic voter registration, allow everyone who wants to vote by mail the option to do so, and prohibits voter ID for absentee ballots, among other things.

Republicans are against the legislation, and are vowing to block it from passage in the Senate by using the filibuster as they lie to the public about what it does.

Abbott is one of the Republicans making false and hyperbolic claims about what the bill would do.

For example on an appearance on Fox News on Sunday, Abbott made the baseless allegation that H.R. 1 could lead to Democrats "using cocaine to buy votes."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.