Texas Secretary of State David Whitley says that 95,000 non-citizens are registered to vote in the state and that 58,000 cast ballots in one or more elections in 2018.
The announcement was greeted with immediate skepticism by the media and activists who say the assertion is “unsupported.”
The evaluation took all year to conduct and was done in partnership with the Department of Public Safety.
“Integrity and efficiency of elections in Texas require accuracy of our state’s voter rolls, and my office is committed to using all available tools under the law to maintain an accurate list of registered voters. Our agency has provided extensive training opportunities to county voter registrars so that they can properly perform list maintenance activities in accordance with federal and state law, which affords every registered voter the chance to submit proof of eligibility,” said Whitley.
“I would like to thank the Department of Public Safety for providing us with this valuable information so that we can continue to guarantee the right to vote for all eligible Texas voters, who should not have their voices muted by those who abuse the system,” Whitley said.
Whitley’s office provided the data to the attorney general’s office, who vowed he would investigate and prosecute illegal voting activity.
“Every single instance of illegal voting threatens democracy in our state and deprives individual Texans of their voice. We’re honored to have partnered with the Texas Secretary of State’s office in the past on voter initiatives and we will spare no effort in assisting with these troubling cases,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton.
“Nothing is more vital to preserving our Constitution than the integrity of our voting process, and my office will do everything within its abilities to solidify trust in every election in the state of Texas. I applaud Secretary of State Whitley for his proactive work in safeguarding our elections,” said Paxton.
Nothing to see here, say activists. Move along.
“There is no credible data that indicates illegal voting is happening in any significant numbers, and the Secretary’s statement does not change that fact,” said Beth Stevens, voting rights legal director for the Texas Civil Rights Project.
It’s a source of wonderment that anyone could oppose attempts to maintain accurate, up-to-date voter registration lists. And yet, “purging” voter rolls is always described as a Republican attempt to restrict minorities from voting. Asking people to show an ID is racist, even if there are tens of thousands of ineligible people registered to vote.
If someone is dead, they should be removed from the list. If they aren’t a citizen, they should also be taken off the rolls. If they try to vote, they should be arrested. Is it really that hard to understand?
Texas isn’t the only state that experiences problems with poorly kept registration lists. But it is particularly vulnerable given its population of non-citizens — illegal and legal. It appears that the state is getting serious about limiting such voter fraud.