voter purge

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Texas: Secretary of state apologizes for how he rolled out voter citizenship review. But he still supports the effort. | The Texas Tribune

Facing an uncertain path to confirmation after ordering a deeply flawed voter citizenship review that seemingly focused on naturalized citizens, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley is apologizing to state lawmakers for the way his office bungled its rollout of the review — but he is still holding firm behind the overall effort. In a letter sent to state lawmakers late Wednesday, Whitley largely defended the review efforts as a legally sound exercise, and he did not admit that his office had erred when it mistakenly threw into question the eligibility of tens of thousands of U.S. citizens or when it sent counties lists of voters it knew very likely included naturalized citizens. Instead, Whitley vaguely admitted there were some shortcomings to the data his office used to flag almost 100,000 registered voters for citizenship reviews and noted his office should have devoted more time to “additional communication” with local and state officials to “further eliminate anyone from our original list who is, in fact, eligible to vote.”

Full Article: David Whitley delivered Texas lawmakers an apology over citizenship review | The Texas Tribune.

Editorials: As a Citizen Included on Texas’ Fake Voter Fraud List, I Call for the Resignation of Secretary of State David Whitley | Julieta Garibay/Texas Observer

I still remember the day of my citizenship exam. It was a cold Monday in November 2017, at the San Antonio office of U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). I had relentlessly studied the 100 questions about the history and government of the United States that might be asked. I prayed I wouldn’t forget the answers. My heart was pounding and my stomach was in a complete knot. The USCIS agent asked: “Who is the governor of Texas?” “Abbott,” I responded. The officer sternly asked for the governor’s full name. My mind was running. A few months before, I had tweeted at Abbott when he signed SB 4 on Facebook and proudly boasted about criminalizing immigrants and making it easier for state and local police to work with the feds to detain and deport. But I could not remember his first name. I froze. The irony of my life: Would I fail my citizenship exam because I couldn’t remember the first name of the man who was hurting the immigrant community so much? The same man who is now calling into question my right to vote. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and tried to remember his Twitter handle. It came to me and I blurted, “Greg Abbott!” A few questions later, the USCIS officer said, “I am recommending you for the citizenship oath ceremony.”

Full Article: As a Citizen Included on Texas’ Fake Voter Fraud List, I Call for the Resignation of Secretary of State David Whitley.

Arizona: Bill would purge inactive voters from permanent early ballot list | Arizona Mirror

Arizonans could face a use-it-or-lose situation with the Permanent Early Voting List under a bill approved by a Senate committee on Thursday. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 1188 on a 4-3 party-line vote, with Republicans supporting the measure and Democrats opposing it. Voters who want to automatically receive an early ballot in the mail for every election can sign up for the Permanent Early Voting List. Under SB 1188, anyone who doesn’t vote in either the primary or general elections for two consecutive election cycles would be removed from the list, though they would still be registered to vote. At least that’s what the sponsor’s intent was. The bill may accidentally be much stricter than intended.

Full Article: Bill would purge inactive voters from permanent early ballot list • Arizona Mirror.

Texas: Civil rights groups ask court to halt ‘voter purge’ during lawsuit | Houston Chronicle

Warning that the “likelihood of severe harm is high,” civil rights organizations asked a federal judge to order an immediate halt to a state-initiated process that questions the citizenship of thousands of registered voters in Texas. The MOVE Texas Civic Fund, the Jolt Initiative, League of Women Voters of Texas and Texas resident Nivien Saleh filed a motion  for a preliminary injunction Wednesday, seeking to prevent any Texans from wrongly being removed from the voter rolls while the groups’ lawsuit against the state and five county elections officials proceeds. The request focuses on a Jan. 25 advisory sent by Texas Secretary of State David Whitley, asking local election offices to look into the citizenship of 95,000 people on the voter rolls. Whitley recommended that counties send notices to people the state flagged as possible non-citizens, giving them 30 days to prove they’re eligible to vote by presenting proper documentation. If they don’t respond, their registrations would be canceled by the county voter registrar. Even if a notice is returned as undeliverable, the advisory instructs the county to cancel the registration.

Full Article: Civil rights groups ask court to halt 'voter purge' during lawsuit - Houston Chronicle.

Texas: David Whitley could face a tough confirmation for Texas secretary of state | The Texas Tribune

The governor’s appointments for secretary of state typically sail through the Texas Senate. But against the backdrop of a flawed voter citizenship check that risked the votes of tens of thousands of naturalized citizens, Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest pick finds himself in need of Democratic support. And the minority party’s doubts about — if not outright opposition to — his confirmation are growing. A longtime Abbott aide appointed to the post in December, David Whitley is set to face the Senate Nominations Committee on Thursday after almost two weeks of intense scrutiny of his decision to question the citizenship status of almost 100,000 voters using flawed data that seemingly singled out naturalized citizens for review. He’s since been named as a defendant in three lawsuits alleging the review was unconstitutional and violated federal safeguards for voters of color, who are more likely to support Democrats. And he’s facing questions from Democratic lawmakers about why he handed that list of voters to the attorney general’s office for possible prosecution even before the names were reviewed by local elections officials.

Full Article: David Whitley could face a tough confirmation for Texas secretary of state | The Texas Tribune.

California: L.A. County and state to purge 1.5 million inactive voters from rolls | Los Angeles Daily News

California and Los Angeles County have agreed to purge as many as 1.5 million inactive voter registrations across the state as part of a court settlement finalized Wednesday with Judicial Watch, a conservative activist group. Judicial Watch sued the county and state voter-registration agencies in Los Angeles federal court, arguing that the state was not complying with a federal law requiring the removal of inactive registrations that remain after two general elections, or two to four years. Inactive voter registrations usually occur when voters move to another country or state or pass away but remain on the rolls. The lawsuit alleged that Los Angeles County, with more than 10 million residents, has more voter registrations than it has citizens old enough to register with a registration rate of 112 percent of its adult citizen population. The lawsuit also uncovered that neither California nor Los Angeles County had been removing inactive voters from the voter registration rolls for the past 20 years, according to Judicial Watch.

Full Article: L.A. County and state to purge 1.5 million inactive voters from rolls – Daily News.

Texas: Activists: Texas voter purge is latest effort to target voting rights | USA Today

The recent eye-popping claim by the Texas secretary of state’s office – that 95,000 registered voters in Texas may be ineligible because they’re not U.S. citizens – grabbed quick headlines and sprang into President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, rekindling fears of rampant voter fraud by non-U.S. citizens. Within a week, however, three lawsuits challenging the move and state officials erasing tens of thousands of names from that list have since raised questions about the validity and methodology of the claim. The clash over Texas voters comes amid allegations by voting rights’ activists of nationwide efforts to purge voters of color from rolls and influence elections, including aggressively going after alleged non-citizens registered to vote. Since 2013, Florida, New York, North Carolina and Virginia have conducted illegal purges, according to a recent study by New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. The report also found that between 2014 and 2016, states removed almost 16 million voters from the rolls – or 4 million more than what was removed between 2006 and 2008. Many of those were improperly removed, the report said.

Full Article: Activists: Texas voter purge is latest effort to target voting rights.

Editorials: Time and time again, hyped claims of rampant illegal voting turn out to be untrue | Philip Bump/The Washington Post

It took just over a day for an announcement from the office of the Texas secretary of state hinting that thousands of noncitizens might have voted to make it into President Trump’s Twitter feed. “58,000 non-citizens voted in Texas, with 95,000 non-citizens registered to vote,” Trump wrote, apparently lifting the data from an episode of “Fox & Friends.” “These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. All over the country, especially in California, voter fraud is rampant. Must be stopped. Strong voter ID!” A bit later, he retweeted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who hyped the same numbers with an all-caps intro: “VOTER FRAUD ALERT.” Paxton’s presentation of the argument was at least nuanced in a way that Trump’s wasn’t. He pointed out that the 95,000 noncitizens had been identified as such by the Department of Public Safety. In fact, as the world quickly learned, it was even less firm than that. The name matches were weak (as the notice to counties indicated in an all-caps warning of its own), and in short order the state and individual counties started clearing names from the list as people’s statuses were confirmed. As our fact-checkers noted, it’s also more than possible that people on the list obtained citizenship since the time they first presented documentation to the state about their status. In 2016, more than 110,000 people in Texas were granted citizenship. Over the decade from 2007 to 2016, nearly a million people became citizens in the state.

Full Article: Time and time again, hyped claims of rampant illegal voting turn out to be untrue - The Washington Post.

Texas: Civil rights groups sue to stop ‘unlawful purge’ of thousands of voters | The Guardian

Civil rights groups have launched lawsuits accusing Texas officials of compiling a flawed list of voters that could see thousands of naturalized citizens wrongly expunged from electoral rolls, sparking a fierce political fight over alleged voter suppression. Four Texas-based organisations are plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed on Monday that asks a federal court to stop the state from enacting an “unlawful purge” based on the flagging of about 95,000 people as potentially illegally registered to vote. It follows legal action initiated last week by Hispanic rights groups who contend the state is pursuing a voter suppression tactic that is likely to have a strong impact on minorities’ democratic rights. “This list is simply a way to target US citizens who are foreign-born as opposed to being any genuine effort to identify non-US citizens on the voter rolls,” said Nina Perales, vice-president of litigation for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Full Article: Texas: civil rights groups sue to stop 'unlawful purge' of thousands of voters | US news | The Guardian.

Editorials: Texas Republicans are lying about fraud to justify a racist voter purge | Mark Joseph Stern/Slate

On Jan. 25, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted a “VOTER FRAUD ALERT” that quickly rocketed around the internet. Texas Secretary of State David Whitley, Paxton asserted, had discovered that approximately “95,000 individuals identified” as non-citizens are registered to vote in the state, “58,000 of whom have voted” in Texas elections. Whitley promptly urged counties to begin purging these 95,000 people from their voter rolls, demanding proof of citizenship within 30 days or canceling their registrations. Donald Trump joined the action, tweeting on Jan. 27 that Whitley’s numbers “are just the tip of iceberg.” Voter fraud, Trump wrote, “is rampant. Must be stopped. Strong voter ID!”

Full Article: Texas Republicans are lying about fraud to justify a racist voter purge..

Texas: Voter-Fraud Claims Don’t Have to Be True to Achieve Their Goal | The Atlantic

Federal courts struck down Texas’s original voter-ID law, which would have required certain forms of government-issued identification in order to vote, deeming it intentional discrimination against minorities. But GOP officials who lead the state argued that the passage and implementation of the law was necessary to prevent voter fraud, and last year Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton accepted the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to uphold a slightly revised version of the law that would allow other forms of identity verification for people who can’t get the proper government-issued documentation. Yet Republicans still don’t think the regulation has done the job. Last week, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley’s office sent an advisory to counties involving a list of people who’d been identified as potential noncitizens with a matching voter-registration record. Activists and media criticized the list as inaccurate and misleading. But that didn’t stop GOP officials from using the list as definitive proof of rampant voter fraud, despite having no evidence that anyone had voted illegally. Their fervor seemed to add to the suspicion that the party has an endgame well beyond “ballot security,” and to the fear that new forms of voter suppression are just on the horizon.

Full Article: Why Trump Is Talking About Voter Fraud in Texas - The Atlantic.

Texas: “Someone did not do their due diligence.” How an attempt to review Texas’ voter rolls turned into a debacle | The Texas Tribune

State Rep. Rafael Anchia had been alarmed by the actions of the Texas secretary of state’s office for days by the time the agency’s chief, David Whitley, walked into the Dallas Democrat’s Capitol office on Monday. The Friday before, Whitley’s staff had issued a bombshell press release calling into question the citizenship of 95,000 registered voters in Texas. Soon after, Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups were raising serious questions about how many people on that list were actually non-citizens who are ineligible to vote. But before those doubts emerged, Whitley, the top election officer in the state, had handed over information about those registered voters to the Texas attorney general, which has the jurisdiction to prosecute them for felony crimes. So as Anchia sat at the end of his green, glass-topped conference table, he wanted to know: Did Whitley know for sure that any of the names on his list had committed crimes by voting as noncitizens? “No,” Whitley answered, according to Anchia.

Full Article: Texas went looking for voter fraud. Then everything fell apart. | The Texas Tribune.

Texas: Civil rights group sues Texas over order to investigate potential noncitizen voters with flawed data | Dallas Morning News

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. 

Full Article: Civil rights group sues Texas over order to investigate potential noncitizen voters with flawed data | Politics | Dallas News.

Texas: Officials launched voter purge with big splash, little accuracy | Houston Chronicle

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.”

Full Article: Texas officials launched voter purge with big splash, little accuracy - HoustonChronicle.com.

Texas: Abbott sticks by flawed list of non-citizen voters, says review should continue | Dallas Morning News

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.

Full Article: Abbott sticks by flawed list of non-citizen voters in Texas, says review should continue | Politics | Dallas News.

Texas: Many Voters Whose Citizenship Was Questioned Are in Fact Citizens | The New York Times

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.

Full Article: Many Texas Voters Whose Citizenship Was Questioned Are in Fact Citizens – The New York Times.

Full Article: Many Texas Voters Whose Citizenship Was Questioned Are in Fact Citizens - The New York Times.

Texas: Officials Begin Walking Back Allegations About Noncitizen Voters | NPR

Texas officials are taking a step back on their claim they found 95,000 possible noncitizens in the state’s voter rolls. They say it is possible many of the people on their list should not be there. In a statement Tuesday, the Texas Secretary of State’s office said they “are continuing to provide information to the counties to assist them in verifying eligibility of Texas voters.” Last Friday, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley sent an advisory to local registrars asking them to look at their voter rolls. Whitley said his office flagged the names of 95,000 people who at one point in the past 22 years had identified as noncitizens with the Texas Department of Public Safety. In that timespan, officials said, they also registered to vote. Voting rights groups have said the state’s list is likely a list of naturalized citizens who recently got the right to vote. 

Full Article: Texas Officials Begin Walking Back Allegations About Noncitizen Voters : NPR.

Texas: Voter citizenship review list has problems, state tells counties | The Texas Tribune

After flagging tens of thousands of registered voters for citizenship reviews, the Texas secretary of state’s office is now telling counties that some of those voters don’t belong on the lists it sent out. Officials in five large counties — Harris, Travis, Fort Bend, Collin and Williamson — told The Texas Tribune they had received calls Tuesday from the secretary of state’s office indicating that some of the voters whose citizenship status the state said counties should consider checking should not actually be on those lists. The secretary of state’s office incorrectly included some voters who had submitted their voting registration applications at Texas Department of Public Safety offices, according to county officials. Now, the secretary of state is instructing counties to remove them from the list of flagged voters. “We’re going to proceed very carefully,” said Douglas Ray, a special assistant county attorney in Harris County, where 29,822 voters were initially flagged by the state. A “substantial number” of them are now being marked as citizens, Ray said.

Full Article: Texas voter citizenship review list has problems, state tells counties | The Texas Tribune.

Ohio: New elections chief wants to cut back on voter purge | Cincinnati Enquirer

Newly elected Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose says he won’t stop the state’s voter purges, but he wants to reduce dramatically the number of inactive voters removed going forward. Ohio’s method of removing inactive voters from the rolls led to a U.S. Supreme Court fight between ballot access advocates and the state. In the end, the top court upheld Ohio’s voter purge for those who haven’t voted or updated their residency in six years. LaRose, who was sworn in Saturday, told The Enquirer that Ohio’s current process is less than ideal and “kind of antiquated.” But he won’t halt the removal of voters initiated by former Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted earlier this month.

Full Article: Ohio's new elections chief wants to cut back on voter purge.

Ohio: 275,000 residents get ‘last chance’ to stay registered | Dayton Daily News

The Ohio Secretary of State’s office is sending “last chance” notifications to some 275,000 inactive voters across the state, giving them a final shot at keeping voting registrations active on county rolls.
In Montgomery County, some 17,918 residents should receive the notices, according to the secretary’s office. They will also go to 6,912 Butler County residents and 5,273 residents in Warren County. The secretary’s office says voters get six years to respond to county boards of elections to confirm registrations. If residents don’t respond or don’t vote in at least 12 elections, don’t request absentee ballot applications in even-numbered year general elections or don’t have their information automatically updated in transactions with Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles offices — if voters “ignore” those attempts to keep them on the rolls, they are sent a “last chance” notice, said a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, Matthew McClellan.

Full Article: 'Last chance' notices coming: Dayton News.