On January 29, The League of United Latin American Citizens sued the Texas attorney general and secretary of state over attempts to suppress the Latino vote in the upcoming May 2019 election.
The official lawsuit document reads, “Full-fledged United States citizens, legally participating in Texas’s election system, particularly those who are part of the Latino community across the State, are being illegally targeted for voter intimidation. This lawsuit seeks to stop such intimidation. The pretextual facade of concern about voter fraud provides no cover for the voter intimidation at work here.”
David Whitley is the Texas Secretary of State and designated as the State’s chief elections officer.
On Friday, January 25, Whitley issued the “Election Advisory No. 2019-02” to voter registrars and elections administrators in the counties across the State that read, “personal information obtained by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) in connection with a motor vehicle record shall be disclosed and used for any matter of voter registration or the administration of elections by the secretary of state. The secretary of state has been working with DPS to obtain and use information regarding individuals who provided documentation to DPS showing that the person is not a citizen of the United States during the process of obtaining or acquiring a Texas Driver License or Personal Identification Card from DPS. The initial set of information provided by DPS is being compared to the voter registration rolls, and we are providing information relating to matches out to counties beginning tomorrow.”
The Secretary of State turned the data discussed in the advisory to the Attorney General, who tweeted the following shortly after noon on the same day as issuance of the SOS advisory, “VOTER FRAUD ALERT: The @TXsecofstate discovered approx 95,000 individuals identified by DPS as non-U.S. citizens have a matching voter registration record in TX, approx 58,000 of whom have voted in TX elections. Any illegal vote deprives Americans of their voice.”
Attorney General Ken Paxton, on that same day posted a four-paragraph press notice that stated, “Texas law allows lawfully present non citizens to obtain driver’s licenses by showing proof of lawful presence to DPS. However, only citizens are eligible to vote. And Texas law currently does not require verification of a voter’s statement that they are a citizen. The Texas Secretary of State provided the information to the Office of the Attorney General this week, which has concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute election crimes.”
LULAC members argued that, “this “matching” process fails to take into account a major factor that throws reliance on the old DPS data particularly suspect: the naturalization process, whereby those who came to the
United States as non-citizens may later attain citizenship.”
According to the Migration Policy Institute, in Texas alone in fiscal year 2014, nearly 53,000 people became citizens through the naturalization process. If each of those people had applied to DPS for a driver license or
personal ID card before 2014, even going back to 1996, and registered to vote after naturalization, they would still show up in the SOS “matching” even though they are fully legitimate registered voters.
Over the 2007-2017 decade, 7.5 million people became naturalized citizens, and it is certain that people in Texas are a relatively large percentage of that number.
This lawsuit is still pending and more information will be available as the story develops.