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.
It’s unclear at this point how many counties have received these calls. County officials said Tuesday they had not received anything in writing about the mistake. It’s also unclear how many people will be removed from the original list of approximately 95,000 individuals flagged by the state. The secretary of state’s office did not respond to questions Tuesday about how much this would reduce the initial count.
In a statement Tuesday, Sam Taylor, a spokesman for the secretary of state, said the state was providing counties with information as “part of the process of ensuring no eligible voters were impacted by any list maintenance activity.”
“This is to ensure that any registered voters who provided proof of citizenship at the time they registered to vote will not be required to provide proof of citizenship as part of the counties’ examination,” Taylor said.
Over the weekend and on Monday, counties started receiving lists of registered voters whom the state said provided DPS with some form of documentation, such as a green card or a work visa, that showed they were not citizens when they obtained driver’s licenses or ID cards.