GOP Gov. Greg Abbott says drive-thru voting could lead to 'coercive' passengers, defends Texas voting restrictions

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  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday defended the proposed GOP-led Texas voting restrictions.

  • On "Fox News Sunday," Abbott told Chris Wallace that the legislation would not suppress voters of color.

  • Abbott took aim at drive-thru voting, decrying a possible "coercive effect" from passengers.

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GOP Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas on Sunday contended that drive-thru voting, which was a popular method of voting in the 2020 election, could potentially allow passengers to have a "coercive effect" on voters.

During an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," host Chris Wallace questioned Abbott about the need for the restrictive voting bill up for debate in the current Texas special legislation session and asked if the law would suppress minority voters.

"More than half of the voters who showed up [for these voting options] were people of color. 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?" he asked Abbott.

Abbott argued that counties needed to have policies in place to protect the integrity of their ballots.

"If you do drive-thru voting, are you going to have people in the car with you? It could be somebody from your employer or somebody else that may have some coercive effect on the way that you would cast your ballot, which is contrary to you going into the ballot box, alone and no one there watching over your shoulder," he said.

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Abbott said that populous Harris County, which tested drive-thru voting in a primary runoff election last year before expanding it to the general election, lacked the authority to "create its own election system."

"With regard to the drive-thru voting, this violates the fundamentals of what - the way that voting integrity has always been achieved and that is the sanctity of the ballot box," he said.

Harris County is anchored by Houston, a longtime Democratic stronghold.

Wallace also questioned the GOP-led push to halt 24-hour voting centers, which was popular with shift workers who work nontraditional hours.

"If 24-hour voting worked, why not continue it?" Wallace asked.

"We are providing more hours per day for voting to make sure that anybody with any type of background, any type of working situation is going to have the opportunity to go vote," Abbott said.

The proposed Texas voting law would bar officials from permitting 24-hour voting centers during early voting and would make it a felony for election officials to send unsolicited vote-by-mail applications to voters, among other measures.

Texas Democratic lawmakers are reportedly mulling over whether to leave the state to block the election overhaul from passing, according to The New York Times.

The lawmakers who support leaving the state have argued that the action "would bring a renewed spotlight to voting rights in Texas" and put pressure on Democrats in the US Senate to enact federal voting reforms, according to several Democratic lawmakers who spoke with The Times.

Read the original article on Business Insider