AUSTIN, Texas (KWTX) A yearlong investigation involving the Texas Department of Public Safety revealed that 95,000 non-citizens are registered to vote in the state and that 58,000 of them have voted in one or more elections, Secretary of State David Whitley announced Friday.
Whitley’s office oversees elections in the state.
"Integrity and efficiency of elections in Texas require accuracy of our state's voter rolls, and my office is committed to using all available tools under the law to maintain an accurate list of registered voters,” he said in a press release.
“Our agency has provided extensive training opportunities to county voter registrars so that they can properly perform list maintenance activities in accordance with federal and state law, which affords every registered voter the chance to submit proof of eligibility.”
The data from the investigation was forwarded to the Texas Attorney General’s Office, he said.
“My Election Fraud Unit stands ready to investigate and prosecute crimes against the democratic process when needed,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said.
“Every single instance of illegal voting threatens democracy in our state and deprives individual Texans of their voice,” he said.
Under Texas law, non-citizens may obtain driver’s licenses by providing proof that they’re in the state lawfully, but state law does not require verification of voters’ statements that they are citizens.
The Secretary of State’s Office plans to cross-reference information from the DPS monthly with the statewide voter registration database to find non-citizens who have registered to vote.
When that happens, the Secretary of State’s Office will notify the county in which the person is registered so the voter registrar can take action.
If that person is, in fact, not a U.S. citizen or fails to respond, then the registrar will cancel the registration.
Texas Secretary of State's Office spokesman Sam Taylor says officials "are very confident" the citizenship data used are current.
Voting rights activists, however, called the numbers suspect and expressed concerns that eligible voters will wind up being purged from voter rolls.