In a sharply worded letter today, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told the Harris County Voter Registrar to “resist efforts to disenfranchise lawfully registered voters.”
In a letter sent to Ann Harris Bennett, Harris County’s Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar, Turner says “There is nothing suspicious about an individual being registered to vote even though he or she was once listed as a non-citizen – as far back as 1996. It stands to reason that the vast majority of these people are simply among the hundreds of thousands who have become naturalized U.S. citizens.”
“These actions by Texas Secretary of State David Whitley and Attorney General Ken Paxton have placed Houston voters – who have followed every federal and state procedure for voter registration – under suspicionof violating election laws,” it continues. “They are essentially being asked to prove their own innocence, and will have a constitutional right taken away if they don’t comply within a short time frame. Disenfranchising naturalized U.S. citizens based on inaccurate, outdated, and arbitrary data is wrong.”
Turner’s own letter acknowledges that voters who are being asked to prove citizenship are not immediately removed from voters rolls. They have 30 days to verify their residence before any action is taken.
The letter goes on to read, “State officials have already had to acknowledge widespread errors in their initial list of 95,000 names. As you are aware, more than 60 percent of the 30,000 names supplied to Harris County have already been removed. There’s no reason to have faith in this manifestly slapdash process.”
As previously covered by Texas Scorecard, the decision on whether or not to “investigate the voter” falls under the purview of county officials.