GALVESTON

Dozens of people could be removed from Galveston County’s voter rolls next week if they don’t respond to letters from the Galveston County Voter Registrar’s Office demanding they prove they’re U.S. citizens.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter

@johnwferguson.

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(36) comments

James Lippert

Responsible Voting is a solemn and grave responsibility which should only exercised by qualified Citizens. Legal Voting and our Elections are the bedrock which underlies our Democracy. Hat's off to Tax Collector Cheryl Johnson for bravely tending to & enforcing our State's laws in Galveston County for the benefit of us all.

David Floyd

The last time they did this, my Brother got a letter saying he was dead. He was surprised and had to prove he was not. Now there is a retired Justice of the Peace who is an illegal alien? FUBAR!

domenico nuckols

I agree we should make sure our voters are citizens. But, I see this is the beginning of voter intimidation by the Republican Party. I registered to vote in Texas in 2002. Around 2010 I get a letter telling me I was going to be dropped from the rolls because my drivers license number was wrong. Since then I have received three more letters to disqualify me for various reasons. The letters didn’t start until I voted in Democratic primary.

Carlos Ponce

Look for the GOLD STAR on your Driver's License. It informs that you have produced a valid Birth Certificate or Naturalization papers and the DPS has them on record. The original intent dates back to 2005 and is called a REAL ID to gain access federal facilities and fly in the U.S.. If you don't have the gold star, the next time you renew you will be asked to produce such documentation.

I take it you have corrected the errant driver's license number. The only record of party affiliation is kept so you won't vote in one party's primary then vote in the other in a run-off. Otherwise, Party affiliation in Texas is fluid and can be changed by voting in the other party's main primary every two years.

Charlotte O'rourke

Two questions:

1). What are the criteria used to form and verify the voter list for purging?

2). If the purge is next week, will it prevent voters from voting in the current election underway for November 2, 2021?

Carlos Ponce

"Let us give you an example. In the 2016 primary election a voter presented himself at one of Galveston County’s early voting polling locations. The election workers looked up the person in the poll book and did not find his record (i.e., he was not a registered voter). When he was told this, the voter said he had voted previously on numerous occasions and he couldn’t understand why he wasn’t registered.

The Election Judge decided to do some investigating and discovered the voter had been called to jury duty. When called, he told the court’s judge he couldn’t serve because he wasn’t a U.S. citizen. Acting appropriately, the District Clerk’s office notified the Galveston Voter Registrar’s office that the gentleman in question was not a U.S. citizen and the Voter Registrar’s office subsequently removed him from the registration rolls.

After discovering this information, the Election Judge asked the voter whether he was a U.S. citizen, and he said he wasn’t. The problem is that this non-U.S. citizen had voted in four previous elections."

https://www.galvnews.com/opinion/columns/article_d445dcae-87af-55fb-a35d-02fe819a6f5b.html

Carlos Ponce

"1). What are the criteria used to form and verify the voter list for purging?"

Election Advisory No. 2021-11

To: Voter Registrars/Elections Administrators

From: Keith Ingram, Director of Elections

Keith Ingram's signature

Date: September 9, 2021

RE: List Maintenance Activity Involving Potential Non-United States Citizens

On September 10, 2021, the Secretary of State’s office will begin sending voter records to counties as part of a revised process for identifying and removing non-United States citizens from the State’s voter rolls. This process will be conducted in accordance with the parties’ settlement agreement in the litigation regarding the Secretary of State’s January 2019 list maintenance activity (LULAC v. Whitley and consolidated cases).

This Advisory provides an overview of the revised process and outlines the actions that you should take with respect to any data files sent to you. Our office has also provided web-based training and demonstrations to voter registrars on the revised process.

Summary of Agreed-Upon Process

Consistent with the LULAC settlement agreement, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will provide the Secretary of State with data regarding individuals who presented evidence of non-United States citizenship at their last DPS visit in which they were issued a new or renewed driver license or personal identification card. These DPS records are limited to individuals who are at least 18 years old and hold a current (unexpired) driver license or personal identification card. The DPS data does not include individuals who obtained a replacement license/identification card or changed their personal information before the expiration of their existing license or identification card.

The Secretary of State will match the DPS records with the statewide voter registration database (TEAM) using the following criteria:

Last Name (including Former Last Name on the Voter Record), First Name, and Full Social Security Number (9 digits);

Last Name (including Former Last Name on the Voter Record), First Name, and DPS-Issued Driver License or Personal Identification Card Number; or

Last Name (including Former Last Name on the Voter Record), First Name, Last Four Digits of the Social Security Number, and Date of Birth.

Out of the matched voter records, the Secretary of State will identify those individuals who registered to vote before they presented documents at a DPS office indicating their non-citizenship. This is determined by comparing the effective date of a person’s voter registration (EDR) to the date on which DPS issued the person’s current license or identification card. The Secretary of State will send to county election officials the records of currently registered voters whose EDR is prior to, or up to 29 calendar days after, the issuance date of the voter’s current license/identification card for which the voter proved lawful presence but not U.S. citizenship.

The revised process will have three main components:

The Secretary of State will provide county election officials an initial dataset of possible non-U.S. citizens. This set will consist of all existing voter records, as of July 25, 2021, that satisfy the matching criteria and EDR specifications described above.

The Secretary of State will continue to send data to county election officials on a weekly basis. Each week, DPS will provide the Secretary of State with a list of individuals who are at least 18 years old, hold a current driver license or identification card, and presented evidence of non-citizenship at their last DPS visit in which they were issued a new or renewed license or identification card in the previous week. The Secretary of State will utilize the matching criteria identified above and send to county officials the records of currently registered voters whose EDR is prior to, or up to 29 calendar days after, the issuance date of the voter’s current license/identification card for which the voter proved non-U.S. citizenship. Please note that as the weekly process is implemented, the initial transmissions may contain multiple weekly files.

On a daily basis, the Secretary of State will send to county election officials the records of voters who were previously identified as a possible non-U.S. citizen in the initial file or a weekly file and have subsequently presented evidence of their citizenship at a DPS office.

Processing of Initial/Weekly Files

As indicated above, any records sent to you through the revised process must satisfy one or more strict matching criteria. However, all of these records must be treated as weak matches. This means that you may not immediately cancel any voter’s registration simply because they are identified as a potential non-U.S. citizen in the initial file or a weekly file.

In determining whether a voter is eligible for registration in your county, the voter registrar may use any lawful means at the registrar’s disposal. (Tex. Elec. Code § 16.033(a)). As you review records of potential non-U.S. citizens identified through this process, numerous sources may be available for you to investigate voter eligibility before you send a notice of examination. For example:

You should thoroughly review the voter’s application file for any evidence of U.S. citizenship. The voter may have previously submitted documentation of citizenship in responding to a notice of examination.

Other governmental entities in or around your county may have verified the citizenship of the voter in providing certain public services.

Some county voter registrars and volunteer deputy registrars maintain lists of naturalized citizens or can identify voter registration applications that were completed at a naturalization ceremony.

If you can confirm through any permissible means that a voter is eligible for registration in your county, you should not send a notice of examination to the voter.

Pursuant to Section 16.033(b) of the Election Code, if a voter registrar has reason to believe that a person is no longer eligible for registration, the registrar must notify the voter in writing that their registration status is being reviewed. Based on the refinement of the DPS data and the strict matching criteria being utilized for this process, it is the Secretary of State’s position that a voter’s presence on the initial file or a weekly file provides a county with reason to believe that the voter is no longer eligible for registration if the county’s independent investigation does not demonstrate that the individual is a U.S. citizen.

We have created a new notice of examination exclusively for this list maintenance activity. The updated notice will be posted on the Secretary of State’s website and is available in the TEAM system.

Pursuant to state law and the LULAC settlement agreement, after receiving a notice of examination, a voter can prove U.S. citizenship in several ways, including by presenting a copy of:

U.S. birth certificate;

Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States issued by the United States Department of State;

U.S. passport;

Certificate of naturalization of the voter;

Certificate of naturalization of the voter’s parent (along with the voter’s foreign birth certificate) that allowed the voter to become a U.S. citizen while he or she was a minor; or

Any other form prescribed by the Secretary of State.

The voter can provide documentation of their citizenship by personal delivery, mail, fax, or email. (Tex. Elec. Code § 1.007).

The voter registrar must cancel the voter’s registration if (1) the voter responds to the notice and the registrar determines upon review of the response that the voter is not eligible for registration; (2) the voter does not respond to the notice of examination within 30 days after the notice is sent; or (3) the notice of examination is returned as undeliverable with no forwarding information available. (Tex. Elec. Code § 16.033(d)).

As a reminder, if a voter’s registration is canceled for failure to respond to a notice of examination but the voter later provides proof of citizenship (including at the polling place), the voter must be reinstated. The reinstatement takes effect immediately. (Tex. Elec. Code § 16.037).

Processing of Daily Files

Each daily file provided by the Secretary of State through this revised process will consist of voters who were identified in a prior DPS non-citizen file and who subsequently returned to a DPS office where they submitted proof of U.S. citizenship. The TEAM system will allow you to print these records for further review and/or for placement in the voter’s file for retention purposes.

The appropriate action to take with respect to voters identified on a daily file depends on the current registration status of the voter:

If you have not yet sent a notice of examination to the voter, no further investigation of the voter’s eligibility is needed.

If you have sent a notice of examination to the voter within the last 30 days, you should close the pending dashboard task in the TEAM system and not cancel the voter’s registration.

If the voter’s registration was appropriately canceled before the voter is listed on the daily file, you should retain a copy of the daily record with the voter’s application file. The voter registrar is not permitted to take any further action as to such individuals. A voter who has subsequently become a U.S. citizen after their voter registration was properly canceled must submit a new voter registration application to the voter registrar.

https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/laws/advisory2021-11.shtml

Charlotte O'rourke

Carlos, thanks for posting the info. While I agree with the Voter Registrar that it’s important not to have non-citizens voting in elections, it appears the process for identification isn’t reliable as indicated by a past veteran and judge and 31 voters to date being on the purge list as filing with the DPS a non-US residency status when obtaining or renewing a license. Then weak matching compounds the problem. Then the process starts to determine if a letter should be sent for proof before purging.

If I were tagged, I would be wanting to see the documentation that stated I marked or was marked a non-US resident while obtaining my license.

Carlos Ponce

"2). If the purge is next week, will it prevent voters from voting in the current election underway for November 2, 2021?"

People not eligible to vote under Texas law should be affected by the purging if their name actually appears on any county voter list. It's an on-going process.

Bailey Jones

Voting is a right under our constitution. It's not incumbent on us, the citizens, to prove that we deserve this right - it's incumbent on the government to prove that we don't.

The government already has ALL of the information required. Why should I have to produce my birth certificate or passport? You already have those. And my driver's license. And my mailing address. And my auto registration. And my professional and business licenses. And my property titles. And my tax records. And my school records. And the census. And when I die you'll get my death certificate, as well.

Yet, our state government can't determine who is a citizen and who is not?

Carlos Ponce

" it's incumbent on the government to prove that we don't." If you have told a judge you're not a citizen, then your name should not appear on a voter roll. If it does it should be purged.

"The government already has ALL of the information required." Not really. From the Voter registration application:

I understand that giving false information to procure a voter registration is perjury, and a crime under state and federal law. Conviction of this crime may result in imprisonment up to 180 days, a fine up to $2,000, or both. Please read all three statements to affirm before signing.

I am a resident of this county and a U.S. Citizen;

I have not been finally convicted of a felony, or if a felon, I have completed all of my punishment including any term of incarceration, parole, supervision, period of probation, or I have been pardoned; and

I have not been determined by a final judgment of a court exercising probate jurisdiction to be totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote

If you fraudulently sign the form you have committed perjury and are subject to prosecution. But some people do.

https://vrapp.sos.state.tx.us/vr17-print.asp

"Yet, our state government can't determine who is a citizen and who is not?" Look for the GOLD STAR on your Driver's License. That indicates they have scanned and recorded your birth certificate or naturalization papers. Problem is there was a delay due to the Chinese Virus.

Notice that Liberals don't wan proof of ID to vote.[rolleyes]

Curtiss Brown

Only citizens should vote. Voting is a civic responsibility. There is a certain appreciation of duty and responsibility involved in voting. It is a deliberate action to be involved in the democratic process and the liberty of the republic. It is secret, no one can know how you vote. There are devices set up to test that the system of voting is secure and secret.

But, people who are here in this country without proper documentation are in constant danger of being discovered and deported. Especially when it comes to interacting with government employees this population is in danger. If they are arrested for breaking the law or if they do something really stupid like register to vote; they put themselves in danger. They are not *generally* going to register to vote. Now, they might be cornered into registering by deputy voter registrars who might be party-specific, pushy about registering to vote. Happy, energetic, boosters of voting, ignorant of a non-citizen's fears might push them to fill out the form and signing it. When they have no intention whatsoever to actually go where a bunch of government associated folks are going to match names and numbers and addresses and other invasive stuff that they are deathly afraid of. To imagine that this population poses any threat at all to our system of voting is nuts. But there are plenty of nuts around.

Deborah Jones

Well, thanks GDN for publishing this on the Friday before the following Monday deadline. I guess you've decided you have no real role in notifying your local citizens ahead of time. At the very least you should unlock this article to non subscribers.

domenico nuckols

This is only the beginning. You are going to witness loser Trump party disenfranchised any and all Democratic voters

Carlos Ponce

Loser? Actually, the smarter Democrats will switch parties-not necessarily Republican, although some will. Many will form a party that resembles John F. Kennedy and away from the Socialist - Marxist of the AOC Mob.

Ted Gillis

So, the State of Texas wants to follow federal law?

Carlos Ponce

The State of Texas follows Federal law.

domenico nuckols

Carlos drink the kool aid. Why isn’t your party feedings

Carlos Ponce

Once again, domenico, your post makes no sense.

domenico nuckols

Because you don’t care

domenico nuckols

You cant handlel the thrut. Loser

Carlos Ponce

What's thrut?

domenico nuckols

Loser President

Carlos Ponce

Since domenico says Biden is "president" that sounds right.

domenico nuckols

Carols the loser ex presindent lost.

Carlos Ponce

There are no "Carols" in this forum. Do you mean Christmas Carols?

Comment deleted.
Carlos Ponce

Self-flagellation from domenico.

Comment deleted.
Carlos Ponce

More self-flagellation from domenico.

Comment deleted.
domenico nuckols

LOSER president

Comment deleted.
domenico nuckols

Who is the president. NOT TRUMP

Ted Gillis

I’m just curious what Cheryl’s reaction would be if the the state legislature ordered her to turn over all of her ballots and voting equipment for a Ninja audit? Can you just see her face?

Carlos Ponce

Only Collin, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant counties are being audited. Why?

"Under existing Texas laws, the Secretary of State has the authority to conduct a full and comprehensive forensic audit of any election and has already begun the process in Texas' two largest Democrat counties and two largest Republican counties".

https://www.sos.state.tx.us/about/newsreleases/2021/092321.shtml

Galveston County is not among the largest Democrat or Republican County. So don't expect an audit.

https://www.sos.state.tx.us/about/forms/9-28-21-forensic-audit-summary.pdf

Jose' Boix

Impressed by the debate on this issue. To me there are two salient points: 1. Purging does not seem to be the appropriate word for the process at hand. It is more an "Audit" of the Voter Registration Records. This will ensure such records are correct and up-to-date; and 2. It seems that our master data-base, which seems to the one managed and maintain by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) needs some technical review and update.

In my years doing regulatory compliance, we were subjected to annual audits by the various governmental entities; namely the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). So, such annual audits (not purging) should be a welcome procedure by all of us. Just my thoughts.

Carlos Ponce

"But, he [Dinkins] said it was wrong that he should have to prove his citizenship status ...."

The preferred identification to be presented upon voting is a Texas Driver's License. We ALL have to produce PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP to get that license:

"To renew a non-commercial Texas driver license (DL) or identification card (ID) at your local driver license

office, you must bring in the following documentation:

1. Application for Renewal

2. Proof of U.S. Citizenship (if you have not previously provided proof), or

3. Updated Evidence of Lawful Presence

4. Proof of Identity, and

5. Proof of Social Security Number

Additionally, you will be required to pay an issuance fee."

See this link:

http://www.dps.texas.gov/internetforms/Forms/DL-32.pdf

It's just a one time thing. You don't have produce proof every time you renew. Your renewal letter will tell you what to bring.

Bring a fraudulent birth certificate or documents you bought at "La pulga" will get you in hot water.

Comment deleted.
Carlos Ponce

"big cherry picking Dufus"

Are you reading this, Martin?

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