Fox News host Chris Wallace confronted Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) over the weekend after the Republican moved to end one county’s 24 hour and drive-through voting.
Wallace appeared to take issue with Abbott curtailing Harris County’s experiment with new voting procedures, suggesting that he was doing so to make it “harder” for people of color to vote.
“They would ban 24-hour voting and they would ban drive-through voting,” Wallace said, according to Daily Mail. “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.”
“You say you want to make it easier to vote,” he continued. “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, however, was not having any of it. After denying that he was suppressing votes, the Republican explained that Harris county was exceeding its legal limits in bringing in new voting rules.
“It is the states, not counties, that have the authority to regulate elections,” Abbott said, going on to accuse Harris county of having tried “to create its own election system that had never been used in the state of Texas.”
Wallace then asked why he couldn’t simply let Harris county continue with the expanded voting system, but Abbott fired back by saying that the same concerns about disenfranchising people were raised when voter I.D. laws were introduced.
“When Texas passed a voter I.D. Law – everyone said the exact same thing, this is going to disenfranchise people of color, it will reduce voting,” Abbott said. “And the fact of the matter is after we passed voter I.D., we increasingly saw every election cycle, more people go and vote, they did not make it harder to go vote, it was easier to go vote.”
“And the same thing applies here and 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 is can be hard to get people watching the polls 24 hours a day,” he continued.
Not stopping there, Abbott told Wallace that drive-in voting “violates the fundamentals of the way voting integrity has always been achieved” through “the sanctity of the ballot box.”
“If you do drive-through 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 you may cast a ballot – which is contrary to you going to the ballot box alone and no one there watching over your shoulder,” said Abbott. “So 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.”
“The bottom line is Harris county, under the constitution, is not allowed to come up with their own rules,” he concluded. “What Texas is doing, by adding more hours, we’re making it easier for people to go and vote.”
Abbott then pointed out that voters in Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware were more limited than in Texas, yet people were not complaining.
“We are providing more hours per day for voting to make sure that in the body of any type of background, any type of working situation, is going to have the opportunity to go vote,” he said.
“If you look at the hours of voting that Texas provides, it is far more hours of voting then exists in the state where our current president voted in where they had exactly zero hours of early voting,” Abbott concluded. “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.”
Check out the full exchange below.