Conservative leaders are calling on the Texas governor to prevent non-citizens and other ineligible persons from voting illegally. According to a statement issued at today’s press conference, more than 280,000 non-citizens in Texas are registered to vote, with another four million registered voters in question.
Direct Action Texas (DAT), a watchdog organization known for exposing mail ballot fraud in numerous counties across Texas, released a statement today regarding its concerns. Aaron Harris, the group’s Executive Director, told Texas Scorecard:
“We are calling on Gov. Abbott to direct the Secretary of State to verify citizenship of all voter registrations. I see no reason for the governor to not implement this practical step to ensure the November election, and all future elections, are held with the integrity Texans demand. The governor could require that these changes be made tomorrow, if he so desired.”
Harris was joined at the event by JoAnn Fleming, Executive Director of Grassroots America: We the People (GAWTP). Fleming, a strong advocate for election integrity and conservative causes in Texas, had this to say:
“It’s a reasonable expectation that we Texans would demand that only citizens be allowed to vote. It’s time for the political finger pointing and excuse-making to end. We’re asking Gov. Abbott to continue fulfilling the promises he’s made to protect the integrity of the ballot box and take the next step to advance the success he’s already had in making Texas’ elections more secure.”
DAT and GAWTP have teamed up with the Texas Conservative Grassroots Coalition to pen a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott calling for swift action. As previously stated, Abbott can instruct the Secretary of State’s Office to verify the citizenship of persons registered to vote in Texas, and notify local county registrars of their findings.
The coalition letter reads:
“Unfortunately, Texans continue to see headlines of non-citizens voting in our elections. In Tarrant County, Rosa Ortega, a legal resident, non-citizen, had been voting for 10 years before being caught and convicted. In Beaumont, an El Salvadoran was indicted on multiple federal charges for having voted in the 2016 Presidential election…In a recent interview Starr County District Attorney Omar Escobar confirmed that non-U.S. citizens are on the voter lists in his county. He is quoted stating, ‘That non-citizens are registered to vote is beyond question. That non-citizens are voting in Starr County is also beyond question.’ They are registered and voting, the only remaining question is, how many.”
Furthermore, roughly four million – or 30 percent – of Texas’ 14.1 million registered voters cannot be found in Texas Department of Public Safety’s database, according to the coalition. It’s unknown how many of the four million are improperly registered and voting illegally.
In the 2017 legislative session, at the petitioning of the same conservative coalition, Abbott made election integrity a priority by including it in his special session call. Lawmakers acted, passing Senate Bill 5, which increased penalties for people who commit election crimes related to mail ballots.
Upon signing the bill into law on August 11, 2017, Abbott issued a statement declaring, “It is a primary function of government to protect citizens’ right to vote, and I will not allow the integrity of the ballot box to be compromised in Texas.”
“Citizenship verification in voter registration is a must for Texas,” says Logan Churchwell of Public Interest Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. “Non-citizens are accused of influencing local elections in the RGV and millions more can do the same by accident. Verification protects U.S. citizens and immigrants alike.” The Foundation has documented non-citizens registered and voting in several states, including Texas, and is suing Harris County in federal court for refusing access to public records of non-citizens found on the county’s voter rolls.
State Sen. Don Huffines (R–Dallas) has already committed to file legislation that would force the Secretary of State to verify citizenship of all registered voters. Similar legislation had previously been filed by outgoing State Sen. Van Taylor (R–Plano), but Republicans didn’t move the bill.
For a copy of the coalition letter addressed to Gov. Abbott, click HERE.
UPDATED August 22, 2018: To read the original statement released by Direct Action Texas, which includes their reference to the above statistics of illegible voters registered in Texas, click HERE. For further commentary by DAT on these statistics, click HERE.
As a result of Direct Action Texas’ statement, WFAA Channel 8 launched their own investigation into the alleged figures, and concluded, “Hundreds, if not thousands of non-U.S. citizens, are registered to vote in Texas, and some have cast ballots in elections…[T]he [state’s] bureaucracy is partially to blame. The Texas Secretary of State said efforts are underway right now to improve the voter database and determine the exact number of non-citizens currently eligible to vote.” To read their full report, and corresponding T.V. segment, click HERE.