A civil rights group has sued Texas for advising counties to review the citizenship of tens of thousands of eligible voters in the state with flawed data, claiming it violates the voting rights of U.S. citizens and legally registered Texas voters who are foreign-born. The lawsuit filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund alleges the state has “singled out for investigation and removal” the names of U.S. citizens who are registered voters because they were born outside the United States. It asks for an injunction to prevent recently naturalized citizens from being investigated and a rescission of the state’s advisory to comb through a list of 58,000 people whom state officials said had potentially voted while not citizens.
The complaint, filed late Friday night in Corpus Christi, names Secretary of State David Whitley, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott as defendants. It also includes Galveston County Tax Assessor Collector Cheryl Johnson, who serves as that county’s voter registrar. The lawsuit alleges that Johnson sent letters to more than 830 people questioning their citizenship.
Officials in the offices of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state did not immediately respond for requests for comment.
The complaint lists multiple individual plaintiffs, including two people from Dallas County, as well as three voting rights advocacy groups. It also has plaintiffs from Harris County, where the state mistakenly placed about 18,000 people on the list for investigation.