Last Friday afternoon, Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton took to Twitter to blast out alarming news. “VOTER FRAUD ALERT,” the tweet said. “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.” The tweet ricocheted across the internet for two hours before the state sent notice of the explosive number of suspected non-citizen voters to county election officials, who are charged with verifying the initial findings and purging any ineligible voters. The state had been working on the analysis since March 2018, but it took the elections officials less than a day to spot glaring errors. By Tuesday, the original list of 95,000 had been cut to roughly 75,000 names. “I can’t speculate as to why the original list had mistakes,” said Williamson County Elections Administrator Chris Davis, who is President of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators and was among the first to notify the state of inaccuracies. “We weren’t, my county, wasn’t consulted on search parameters or methodology.”
The sequence of events spotlights a rocky rollout that put far more emphasis on splashy numbers than accuracy.
All 366 registered voters on the list sent to McLennan County election officials, for example, were incorrectly flagged and had already proven citizenship, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.
Allegations of widespread voter fraud have become a rallying cry for Republicans, though evidence hasn’t borne it out. During his own election and afterward, President Donald Trump made repeated, unsubstantiated claims of illegal votes.