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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

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AUSTIN, Texas, July 14, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The record number of vote fraud cases currently awaiting trial in the Lone Star State is more than enough to show that election integrity is a real issue necessitating legislation, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued Monday.

State and national Democrats have been intensifying their opposition to Republican-backed legislation to strengthen the state’s election rules, with President Joe Biden calling it “21st-century Jim Crow assault” on voting rights and dozens of Democrat state legislatures fleeing the state in hopes of denying the Texas House the quorum necessary to pass the bill (which passed the Texas Senate 18-4 Tuesday evening).

“In my office we have over 500 cases waiting to go [to] trial,” Paxton told Fox & Friends host Todd Piro in response to the talking point that vote fraud is a manufactured issue, CNS News reported. “We have other investigations, over 300. We have more voter fraud cases than we have ever had. That's just a fact.”

“And so we need to talk about the fact that we are dealing with this issue and that we do need legislation to make sure that voter fraud is not prevalent so people can count on the elections being true and that the right people are being elected,” Paxton continued.

In reality, the proposed law is much milder that Democrat characterizations suggest, and in some ways even milder than what many conservatives would prefer. 

According to a summary from Business Insider, the bill specifies the number of hours counties must allow early voting with localities no longer being able to offer 24-hour overnight early voting; requires early voting to be conducted in a fixed building instead of a “moveable structure” (i.e., “drive-thru voting”); requires voters to submit a number from a state-issued identification with absentee ballots; makes it a felony to send unsolicited absentee ballot applications (regardless of the recipients’ eligibility); strengthens partisan observers’ equal access to the polls; toughens penalties for paid ballot collection (i.e., “vote harvesting”); and requires that individuals “assisting” impaired or elderly voters fill out ballots state their relationship to the voter. 

While many of the above changes are welcome news to those concerned about election integrity, many would prefer that voting by mail either be abolished entirely or confined to certain circumstances, such as U.S. soldiers stationed overseas. The legislation also has a few provisions included at Democrat insistence, including a requirement that election officials notify anyone who sends in an absentee ballot with a missing or mismatched signature and gives them an opportunity to correct it, and a provision in the House version of the bill protecting “against a person being convicted of a crime for voting a provisional ballot while unknowingly ineligible.”

These concessions have done nothing to soften the left-wing furor against the bill and others like it across the country, which were driven by widespread fears over fraud in last November’s presidential election. Conservatives have accused Democrats and their allies of trying to intimidate states that persist in questioning Biden’s victory, which came under suspicion thanks in large part to last year’s drastic expansion of no-excuse mail voting and relaxed standards for absentee ballots.

Meanwhile, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott says of the Democrat lawmakers who fled the capitol, “”As soon as they come back in the state of Texas, they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done.” He also vowed to “call a special session after special session after special session all the way up until election next year” if Democrats continue to obstruct the legislative process.