Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday said the flawed list of tens of thousands of non-citizens who had potentially voted released by his secretary of state is a “work in progress” and that state and local officials should continue their reviews. “This is a list that we need to work on together to make sure that those who do not have the legal authority to vote are not going to be able to vote,” he said. “This is what you would categorize as a process, a work in progress. They’ll get it right.” On Friday, Secretary of State David Whitley, who was appointed by Abbott in December, sent an advisory to counties saying that about 95,000 people who received driver licenses — while legally in the country, but not U.S. citizens — also appeared on Texas voter rolls. Of them, 58,000 voted in one or more elections between 1996 and 2018, Whitley’s office said. It asked counties to review the eligibility of people on the list.
By the end of Wednesday, counties had removed more than 20,000 people from those lists who had already proved their citizenship to the Texas Department of Public Safety, leading to heavy criticism from Democrats and voter rights advocates who had called the advisory a veiled attempt at voter suppression.
Asked directly if he believed that tens of thousands of non-citizens had voted in Texas, Abbott demurred.
“I think it’s important to let the data speak for itself and that’s why it’s so critically important that the Secretary of State, DPS and the counties all work together to find out exactly what the facts are,” he said.