Texas has some of the toughest voter ID laws in the US, yet Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office announced on Friday that there are still non-citizens among the 16 million registered voters in Texas, the New York Times reported. 33 people were prosecuted for voter fraud last year, and 97 were prosecuted between 2005-17, the Attorney General’s office noted.
“Every single instance of illegal voting threatens democracy in our state and deprives individual Texans of their voice,” Paxton said in a statement.
The announcement came as a result of an 11-month-long investigation into records at the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Gov. Greg Abbott praised the findings and hinted at future legislation to crack down on voter fraud, noting that the state will work on legislation to safeguard against these illegal practices.
Thanks to Attorney General Paxton and the Secretary of State for uncovering and investigating this illegal vote registration. I support prosecution where appropriate. The State will work on legislation to safeguard against these illegal practices. #txlege #tcot https://t.co/UwtyXijVwK— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) 25 января 2019 г.
Sam Taylor, a spokesman for the secretary of state, said the announcement on Friday did not mean that the authorities had discovered 95,000 registered voters who they knew for a fact were non-citizens and advised to ask these voters via mail to provide proof of their citizenship. He also said that the method they had used to identify these potentially problematic voter registrations had left “very little, if any” room for error, as they have used a range of identifiers — including first and last names, birth dates and full or partial Social Security numbers — to cross-reference voter rolls and public safety records.
“We can’t see a situation in which this would produce a false positive,” he said. “These are people whose last and most recent visits to DPS showed them to be noncitizens through documentation that they submitted and which DPS has kept on file.”