DAT Releases Numbers of Non-Citizens
On August 16th, Direct Action Texas and Grassroots America held a joint press conference in which we announced a coalition letter to Governor Abbott asking him to direct the Secretary of State to begin verifying citizenship of registered voters in Texas.
In the press conference, I released figures that have understandably garnered quite a bit of attention. Many questions are circling; I’m going to address many of them now. Some will remain unaddressed until a future time and place.
We can agree that government suffers from a disease of inaction. Even with the best of intentions, important projects simply die in government, especially those that are political hot potatoes – like election integrity. This is simply a political reality.
For nearly a year the Attorney General has had information about the problems with Texas’ voter rolls, and this project has simply stalled. In January, in discussions with multiple senior level staff in the AG’s office, I predicted they would get nowhere by mid-year in 2018 and promised that – if they did nothing – I would go public in July or August. As I had originally feared the project has stalled. Last week I followed through on my promise to release the information.
In 2017, government analysts compared Texas’ voter rolls against the Department of Public Safety (DPS) database. Most Texans don’t realize the Secretary of State (SoS) checks the DPS database every time they register a voter. This is done in accordance with federal statute.
They verify the applicant’s name, address, and date of birth. DPS has citizenship information, but the SoS does NOT verify that status.
In checking the voter rolls against the DPS citizenship status, the analysts found 280,000 registered voters who – at the time they were issued a DPS ID – were not citizens. Non-citizens are ineligible to register and vote.
Some of these were registered to vote when they got their ID (motor voter), and some were registered to vote at a later date. Some of these likely became naturalized citizens since they obtained their DPS ID, but surely not all of them. The fact is we simply do not know.
Texans deserve to know.
There are over 21.5 million DPS-issued IDs in Texas. There are 14 million registered voters. Of the 14 million registered voters, more than 4 million of them do not match up to anyone in DPS’s database or other databases available to the analysts.
Who could these people be? They could be people who have moved out of state. They could be voters who are since deceased. Even though counties are supposed to remove deceased citizens from the rolls we have seen that counties simply do not routinely do that. They could also be the rare person who votes but has no form of government ID.
There are other reasons someone might be improperly registered to vote, but do not appear in DPS database. The most obvious that comes to mind are illegal aliens.
The problem with both the 4 million pool and the 280,000 pool is the state has so far been unable or unwilling to give Texans an answer regarding who these people are or what their citizenship status was when they voted and registered. Also, no one can tell you what their status is today. No one knows.
Even worse, no one seems to be in a hurry to answer that question. The AG’s office, the Governor’s office, and key members of the Texas Legislature are all aware of the information I released last week. What the Grassroots Coalition did yesterday is ask Governor Abbott to take the first step in directing the SoS to begin verifying citizenship in the DPS database as they process voter registrations.
This is a very reasonable step to take, which must be taken immediately.
The Texas Scorecard reached out to the Attorney General’s office for comment on what I released. Mark Rylander, Communications Director, responded, saying “The Office of the Attorney General has an ongoing investigation into noncitizen voting in Texas. We disclosed some detail to the Senate this spring regarding that investigation. We will decide whether to disclose additional information as the investigation unfolds and don’t rely on third parties to make that disclosure for us.”
As one reporter privately commented, upon reading that statement, “That means it’s legit.”
Yes, I am blowing the lid on previously unrevealed information. Yes, the government isn’t happy I have released these figures. But I don’t care what makes government officials happy, or not. I care about Texans having the truth.
I have sat by and watched the government do nothing on this for over a year. I can no longer sit by quietly. What we will see now is the Attorney General’s office attempt to marginalize me, the messenger. They will deny or obfuscate the data. They will attempt to make this go away.
Direct Action Texas will not go away.
Instead, the Attorney General’s office should confirm to the public what they know – and don’t yet know – about this troubling information. Come clean about the fact they simply cannot account for millions of registered voters. Let us have this conversation in the public domain. To be fair, the AG’s office has no ability to fix this problem, other than confirm it’s existence and prosecute any fraud.
Only the Governor, the SoS, and the Texas Legislature can fix this by verifying the legitimacy of Texas’ voter rolls. The AG should release the information they have to the public and let others pick up this hot potato and run with finding a solution.
That is what should happen next. But whether or not that happens is completely up to the Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton, and ultimately, Governor Abbott. But they better hurry – Texans are fed up with delay and November is right around the corner.
Having a public discussion about this problem – and holding the proper offices and agencies accountable – is a reasonable expectation Texans should have of this Republican-controlled state.
November’s critical election will be the 6th election since I’ve known about this problem. How many more elections are we going to have before this problem is addressed? Texas cannot afford to have the integrity of any more elections being questioned again.
Texans will be watching.