Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) visited North Texas Thursday for events in Parker and Denton counties and while talking with NBC 5 addressed the recent standoff at a Colleyville temple and the trouble that some Texans are having requesting mail-in ballots for the upcoming primary.
While at an event at the Parker County Chamber of Commerce, the governor called the hostage-taking at Congregation Beth Israel a terrorist attack and commended law enforcement for bringing the situation to an end.
Abbott said he spoke with Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker shortly after the standoff ended and that they talked about what it took to survive the encounter with the armed man.
"He told me a lot of different things, including them praying and their strategizing to get out of there, but also he talked extensively about all the training that he had gone through from a lot of different agencies to prepare him for a situation like this. So, as a result, he was able to mentally process that training as he worked his way through and that helped them get out that night," Abbott said.
In addition to being briefed by law enforcement before, during, and after the standoff in Colleyville, Abbott said he's also spoken with the prime minister of Israel about the attack.
NBC 5 also asked the governor about the trouble that some Texans are having with mail-in ballots. New laws put into place last year required changes to the process voters must go through to obtain a mail-in ballot and many of those requests are being rejected.
Under the new law, an applicant must include either a driver's license number, the last four digits of a Social Security number, or the number from a state-issued identification card.
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The Texas Tribune reports that the state does not have both a driver's license number and Social Security number for all of the nearly 17 million voters on the Texas voter rolls.
When Abbott was asked whether he was concerned people could lose their chance to vote because of issues with the paperwork, he said they're making it clear what's required to obtain a mail-in ballot.
"We are making it very clear to all voter registrars, as well as the people who may be receiving or sending in a mail-in ballot, that these things are required. To make sure we further communicate that, the Texas Secretary of State is holding online webinar seminars to educate all the local officials, as well as to educate the public, about what exactly is required," Abbott said.
The last day to register to vote in the March primary is Jan. 31. Early voting runs Feb. 14-25. The last day to apply for a ballot by mail is Feb. 18 (received, not postmarked). The ballot must be received by March 1 if not postmarked or by 5 p.m. March 3 if postmarked by 7 p.m. March 1. Check your registration status or register to vote here. Go here to download a ballot to vote by mail.