Late last Friday, Sec. of State David Whitley and Attorney General Ken Paxton announced, without evidence, that tens of thousands of non-citizens in Texas — at some point after having requested a driver’s license — voted. In the statement, Whitley issued a request to county election officials to review these voters as “WEAK” matches [all-caps by the state].
According to the Texas Tribune, this means “counties may now choose to investigate the eligibility of the individuals who were flagged, which would require them to send a notice asking for proof of citizenship within 30 days, or take no action.”
Let’s be clear: these accusations do nothing to further citizens’ trust in the electoral process.
Furthermore, these claims should be taken with great skepticism. State officials provided no documentation for their claims, relying on data from the Texas Department of Public Safety. As you know, DPS’ data can’t be automatically trusted. In 2012, the Houston Chronicle found that the state’s effort to purge voters was based on countless errors:
“State election officials repeatedly and mistakenly matched active longtime Texas voters to deceased strangers across the country – some of whom perished more than a decade ago – in an error-ridden effort to purge dead voters just weeks before the presidential election, according to a Houston Chronicle review of records.
Voters in legislative districts across Texas with heavy concentrations of Hispanics or African-Americans were more often targeted in that flawed purge effort, according the Chronicle’s analysis of more than 68,000 voters identified as possibly dead.”
Conservatives in the Texas Republican party have a long history of discrimination and voter intimidation, as federal courts have repeatedly ruled in recent years. This weekend’s claims are just another shameful attempt at discrediting the will of Texas voters in the 2018 election.
These partisan efforts at voter suppression are happening across the country, too:
- In the 2016 Presidential election, President Trump claimed, without evidence, that millions of voters illegally cast a ballot.
- In Florida, GOP officials touted voter fraud when statewide elections were too close to call.
- In Kansas, Secretary of State Kris Kobach made the baseless claim that illegal voting was a widespread problem in the state.
- In Georgia, election officials purged a hundred thousand voters from the rolls.
- President Trump claimed that illegal ballot casting was a widespread issue in California.
It’s time for Texas Republicans to end these voter suppression efforts, and stop making claims without evidence as an excuse to cancel voter registrations. For House Democrats, our focus will be to continue our fight for every Texan to enjoy their right to vote free of discrimination and intimidation.