Civil rights groups push back on bogus SOS letter


Still the only voter ID anyone should need

Lawyers with 13 organizations — including the Texas Civil Rights Project, the ACLU of Texas, the League of Women Voters of Texas and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund — are demanding that the state rescind an advisory sent to local election officials regarding the individuals whose citizenship status the state says the counties should consider checking. In a letter sent Monday, the groups requested a response by Jan. 30, claiming that the state’s data was flawed and demanding more information about the methodology it used.

Some of the groups are considering litigation against the state, said Beth Stevens, voting rights legal director for the Texas Civil Rights Project.

The letter comes three days after the Texas secretary of state’s office announced it would send local election officials a list of 95,000 registered voters who had provided the Texas Department of Safety some form of documentation, such as a green card or a work visa, that showed they were not citizens when they were obtaining driver’s licenses or an ID cards.

“Using such a data set to review the current citizenship status of anyone is inherently flawed because it fails to account for individuals who became naturalized citizens and registered to vote at any point after having obtained their driver license or personal identification card,” the lawyers wrote.

In their letter, the groups point to efforts in Florida that used similar methodology to create a list of approximately 180,000 registered voters that officials claimed were noncitizens based on records used when they obtained driver’s licenses. That fight ended up in federal court after more than 2,600 were mistakenly removed from the rolls after being classified as noncitizens. About 85 voters “ultimately proved actionable,” the lawyers wrote.

See here for the background. The letter to the SOS is here, and the letter they sent to all 254 county election administrators is here. The latter is both a public information request for “all records relating to the Advisory, including but not limited to the list of all individuals identified by the Secretary of State or Department of Public Safety as potential non-citizens, the Voter Unique Identifier for each of those individuals, and all communications and correspondence with the Secretary of State concerning the Advisory”, and a plea to not take any action “unless and until the Secretary of State has provided greater transparency on its procedures and ensured there are adequate safeguards for not identifying lawfully registered naturalized citizens.” The letter to the SOS lays out their demands for more information, and drops a little math on them:

Given that Texas Driver Licenses and ID Cards do not expire for a full six years after they are issued, the odds are quite high that this list of purported non-citizens includes tens of thousands of people who are now US citizens entitled to vote. Indeed, each year, between 52,000-63,000 Texans become naturalized citizens (roughly the same number of potential non-citizens you claim have voted in Texas elections over a 22-year period).1 Given that newly naturalized citizens have voter registration rates around 50%,2 it is reasonable to conclude that at least 25,000 newly naturalized Texans are lawfully registering to vote each year. Even if one assumes that not all naturalized citizens previously obtained driver licenses, and not all registered naturalized citizens registered immediately, it is easy to see how this would result in your office obtaining over 90,000 incorrectly identified matches.

Read them both. Given that Ken Paxton was sending out email earlier the same day screaming about thousands of illegal voters, I think the odds are very high this will wind up in court.

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8 Responses to Civil rights groups push back on bogus SOS letter

  1. Except I don’t believe they are matching on name and address because that list seems to have too many names. They are likely using poor name-matching software as Florida did and if you share a name you are on the list. As Texas non-citizens are typically Hispanic it is a means to interfere with the right to vote of tens of thousands of Latinos by making them jump through additional hoops.

  2. Manny Barrera says:

    I know of three other persons in Harris County that share my exact name.

    If the Chronicle is right the state claimed they matched social security numbers. I have no idea how that would have been accomplished because one does not have to provide a social security number.

    All voters who register to vote in Texas must provide a Texas driver’s license number or personal identification number issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety. If you don’t have such a number, simply provide the last four digits of your social security number.

    Republicans are lying corrupt individuals, I am sure that there are exceptions.

  3. brad says:

    Republicans…lies and the lying liars who tell them.

  4. Jules says:

    Republicans are giving Texas a bad name with both Tarrant and Harris County Republicans recently making national news with their ignorant bullshit. Terrible.

  5. C.L. says:

    I know of a guy in West Virginia who shares my name. He’s in the State Penitentiary for murder.”

    Then again, this is the internet after all – I could be the prisoner in question, posting on this blog from the prison library !

  6. Robert says:

    Is it somehow less scandalous if the 58,000 number shrinks by half to only 29,000 non-citizen illegal voters? Heck, even if the number were reduced by 75% it would still be 14,500 illegal ballots that canceled out the legal vote of 14,500 Texas citizens.

  7. brad says:


    Are you willing to monitor Ken Paxton’s tally of how many “non-citizen illegal voters” there actually turns out to be and report back to us when Ken is done sparing “no effort in assisting with these troubling cases.”?

    Or do you think it would be disappointing for all the thousands of people who will suffocate to death holding their breath waiting for Ken to actually do anything to uncover any real irregularity other than just blowing hot air?

    If the actual factually verified number or non-citizen’s voting in Texas exceeds more than 100 over the last quarter century I’ll be surprised. Doing some very quick math that will be about 4 per year. I’ll let you do the math to figure out the % to the 100th decimal point how small that is compared to the # of votes cast in Texas during that time frame.

  8. Pingback: A trio of updates about that bogus SOS letter – Off the Kuff

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