A claim made last week by the Texas secretary of state — that 95,000 registered voters had a citizenship status that could not be determined — appeared to fall apart on Tuesday when local election officials said many of the people were known to be United States citizens.
Some registered to vote when they applied for a driver’s license at the Texas Department of Public Safety, which requires them to prove citizenship status to state officials. Others registered at naturalization ceremonies, a data point to which state officials said they did not have access.
Election officials in Harris County, home to Houston, said they received 30,000 names — the largest single batch of potential noncitizen voters — from the secretary of state’s office on Monday. By Tuesday afternoon, they had determined that roughly 400 of those names were duplicates and 60 percent so far of the others were United States citizens.
“We are not willing to conclude at this point that we know of anybody on this list who is not a United States citizen,” Douglas Ray, special assistant attorney for Harris County, said. “We may determine that at a later time, and we are going to investigate that very carefully, but as you can tell by the numbers, so far things ain’t looking good for this list,” referring to the state’s claim.
Local officials reported similar findings on Tuesday in Fort Bend County, outside of Houston; Travis County, home to the state capital, Austin; and Williamson County, outside of Austin. All said they had been instructed by the secretary of state’s office on Tuesday to disregard the names of voters who registered at state public-safety offices.