Fact Check: Do Fewer People Of Color Own Cars, And Are Thus Unable To Utilize Drive-Thru Voting?

Our weekly check-in with the Texas Truth-O-Meter.

By Brandon Mulder, PolitiFact/Austin American-Statesman; radio story produced by Kristen CabreraApril 28, 2021 2:41 pm, , , ,

From PolitiFact Texas:

In voting debate, no evidence that more people of color don’t own cars than do.

Eliminating drive-thru voting centers is one of the major features of Senate Bill 7, described by its Republican authors as an election security measure and by its Democratic detractors as an attempt to suppress the vote.

The bill would prohibit county election officials from allowing voters to cast ballots from within their vehicles by amending the state’s election code to make voting rules in this regard uniform across the state.

This provision is aimed at Harris County, which set up drive-thru voting centers last year as a safe way to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 127,000 voters cast ballots via the drive-thru centers during the 2020 general election, helping the county set a voter turnout record.

Democratic critics of SB 7 argue that eliminating drive-thru voting would disproportionality affect people of color, since many of the 10 drive-thru voting locations in Harris County were located near concentrations of Blacks and Latinos.

Earlier this month, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick pushed back against that argument by saying that most people of color don’t own vehicle.

“If they’re worried about people of color — on the Democrats’ side who came up with this drive-in voting — statistics show that more people of color don’t have cars than not,” Patrick said during an April 6 press conference. “So how do (drive-thru voting centers) help those folks?”

It’s unclear what statistics Patrick was referring to. We sought clarification from his office, but his spokesperson did not respond to several messages. So we searched for sources that show rates of car ownership among different races and ethnicities…

Read the full story and see how Patrick’s claim rated at PolitiFact, and listen to an interview with PolitiFact’s Brandon Mulder in the audio player above.

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