Social media users broke into a bitter debate mirroring the Texas Legislature’s arguments over a controversial “election integrity” bill on Sunday, following Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest Facebook post sharing a Houston Chronicle opinion piece on the legislation re-introduced during a special session.
The opinion piece, authored by Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, called the rancorous fight in the Texas Legislature “based on misconceptions and hyperbole.” The elections bill, which would ban drive-thru voting, 24-hour voting and election officials from sending vote-by-mail applications before a voter requests one, is making its second appearance this year after a first version of the legislation died in May.
“Facts matter,” Abbott wrote. “Reckless rhetoric doesn’t. The Texas election integrity bill doesn’t disenfranchise Texas voters. It makes elections fair and uniform. Anyone saying that the bill denies people the right to vote is simply lying.”
Earlier in the week, the majority of the 67 House Democrats flew to Washington, D.C. to deny the Texas House quorum during the special session of the Legislature. They say the bill would make it harder for people of color to vote.
The reactions to Abbott’s post came in droves, with more than 1,400 comments as of Sunday afternoon.
“Nothing like starting a lie with the ‘Facts matter,’” user Michael Paolini wrote in the comments. “If facts mattered, you produce proof of voter fraud and no one would fight you on fixing it. Instead you lie and lie more in the pursuit of power.”
Another Facebook user, Sarah Freed, said “politics in general is corrupt.”
“All you folks still stuck on the ‘Trump was cheated’ bandwagon,” Freed wrote. “This was the largest voter turn-out in history. He lost. Many Republicans did NOT vote for him! Next!!!”
Others said the bill should be “everyone’s concern and priority.”
“Election integrity should be EVERYONE’S concern and priority…,” Facebook user Rose Annette Pulice Arnold commented. “If it’s not then something is up. They are fighting this way too hard… Keep pushing Texas… American Patriots appreciate you all.”
“More time to early vote, ID vote, mail in actually requiring it’s you, and disabled may still vote in car as always,” user Becky Sebastian commented. “No drive thru for healthy people and mail on (sic) for them. Election ends like it use to on time. Geez. Big old Meanies going back to fair voting!”
House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, offered to fly the Texas Democrats back to Texas on a charter plane. None have taken him up on the offer, Enrique Marquez, Phelan’s spokesperson, told the Dallas Morning News.
“The Speaker should save his money. We won’t be needing a plane anytime soon, as our work to save democracy from the Trump Republicans is just getting started,” state Reps. Rafael Anchía, Nicole Collier and Chris Turner said in a joint statement. “We’re not going anywhere and suggest instead the speaker end this charade of a session, which is nothing more than a monthlong campaign commercial for Gov. Abbott’s re-election.”