GALVESTON

A federal congressional committee will launch an investigation into a Texas effort to remove people from voter rolls over suspicions those people may not be citizens.

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform on Thursday sent letters to Texas Secretary of State David Whitley and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, informing them of the investigation into the controversy.

“We are disturbed by reports that your office has taken steps to remove thousands of eligible American voters from the rolls in Texas and that you have referred many of these Americans for possible criminal prosecution for exercising their right to vote," U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings and U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, both Maryland Democrats. wrote in a letter to Whitley. 

Cummings is chairman of the powerful oversight committee. Raskin is chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Since it began, the attempted voter purge has embroiled Whitley's office and resulted in three federal lawsuits — two of which also targeted Galveston County Voter Registrar Cheryl Johnson.

The House committee's request does not specifically mention Galveston County, but does ask Whitley and Paxton to provide all communications they've had with county and local election officials.

Johnson on Thursday afternoon said she had not been contacted about the congressional probe and did not expect to be contacted about it.

On Jan. 25, a Friday, the Secretary of State's office sent a list of 95,000 registered voters to county election officials across the state and identified the people on the list as potential non-citizens.

The following Monday, some counties, including Galveston, began sending letters to local people identified on that list, demanding that they prove their citizenship. If they didn't, they could be removed from voter rolls and possibly referred for criminal investigation, Johnson said.

Johnson's office sent out about 169 such letters, but stopped after the Secretary of State's office alerted counties that there were errors in the original list. Johnson later said that her office sent demand letters to at least 58 people who were later confirmed to be legal voters.

While most questions about the list, how it was developed and what its original intentions were have been focused on Whitley, Johnson and officials from other counties remain a part of a lawsuit filed by voting and civil rights groups that have blocked the state from moving forward with the citizenship review.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Fred Biery refused to dismiss Johnson and other county officials from the lawsuit. The county officials had argued they were simply following the direction of Whitley's office, though Whitley has said the county officials operate independently.

Biery wrote that he would be willing to dismiss the counties from the lawsuits if they could propose a system where suspected non-citizens are not contacted until officials can provide "conclusive evidence" that they don't belong on voter rolls.

"Were such a proposal forthcoming, the court would reconsider whether the counties need to continue being a party to this lawsuit," Biery wrote.

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

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(21) comments

Ray Taft

Two Maryland Democrats want to tell Texas who can vote in Texas elections. Cummings and Raskin should be funding The Wall for Texas and not trying to get illegals to vote in Texas elections because Democrats have a political agenda.

In lieu of what Democrats in Washington are doing, Texas should investigate Cummings and Raskin because surely we can find a crime they or someone close to them committed if we look long and hard enough.

And U.S. District Court Judge Fred Biery was appointed by Bill Clinton. That makes Biery a Democrat judge bending the law to fit the Democrat political agenda to stuff Texas ballot boxes with illegal votes for Democrats because Democrats are big losers in Texas.

It’s widely known that Democrats can’t win unless they lie or cheat. So The Daily News has dutifully laid out the scheme to make the Democrats plan to cheat in Texas’ elections seem plausible.

Carlos Ponce

Here's the letter from Chairman Elijah Cumming to SOS David Whitley:
https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/2019-03-28.EEC%20Raskin%20to%20Whitley-TX%20SoS%20re%20Voter%20Rolls.pdf
Chairman Cummings states, " We are disturbed by reports that your office has taken steps to remove thousands of eligible Americans from the rolls in Texas and that you have referred many of these Americans for possible criminal prosecution for exercising their right to vote"
Not true Mr. Chairman. What you state is a stretch of what actually occurred.
Here's the letter from Keith Ingram, Director of Elections, to the Texas counties:
https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/laws/advisory2019-02.shtml
It states, "...the county may choose to investigate the voter, pursuant to Section 16.033, Election Code, or take no action on the voter record if the voter registrar determines that there is no reason to believe the voter is ineligible. The county may not cancel a voter based on the information provided without first sending a Notice of Examination (Proof of Citizenship Letter) (PDF)."
And here is the "NOTICE TO REGISTERED VOTER FOR PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP":
https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/forms/bw1-12.pdf
The state removes NO ONE from the voter rolls nor refers them for prosecution. The state simply informs the counties that these individuals have indicated on LEGAL documents that they are NOT CITIZENS and the matter should be investigated under the law. It is up to the COUNTIES to remove anyone determined not a citizen from the voter rolls. THAT'S THE LAW.
Texas Election Code - ELEC § 16.033. Cancellation Following Investigation by Registrar
"The registrar may use any lawful means to investigate whether a registered voter is currently eligible for registration in the county. If the registrar has reason to believe that a voter is no longer eligible for registration, the registrar shall deliver written notice to the voter indicating that the voter's registration status is being investigated by the registrar.  The notice shall be delivered by forwardable mail to the mailing address on the voter's registration application and to any new address of the voter known to the registrar.  If the secretary of state has adopted or recommended a form for a written notice under this section, the registrar must use that form. The notice must include: a request for information relevant to determining the voter's eligibility for registration;  and a warning that the voter's registration is subject to cancellation if the registrar does not receive an appropriate reply on or before the 30th day after the date the notice is mailed."
https://codes.findlaw.com/tx/election-code/elec-sect-16-033.html

George Croix

Let EVERYBODY vote.
The Democrat mantra.
Heck, let them vote by e-mail......

Of course, then someone would have to sub in for the posthumous vote.....

Jarvis Buckley

We can expect more interference into
Our state government. Now that socialists control the house. We should ignore them. They will be gone in 2020.

Diane Turski

Maybe some Texans think that blatant attempts at voter suppression is okay. But I don't think it is okay. I think that voter suppression must be stopped immediately! I welcome this Congressional investigation, especially since the Voting Rights law was gutted by a divided Supreme Court, who reasoned that racial bias in voting no longer needed protection since it must no longer exist in America because Obama had been elected President. Proven wrong again!

Carlos Ponce

Voter Suppression? No it is not. The LAW states that non-citizens may vote in the State of Texas. The LAW states that the Texas Secretary of State may direct County Registrars to check the legal status of those registered to vote given a legal reason for doing so. What's the LEGAL reason? The individuals on the list signed papers stating they were NOT CITIZENS, DUH!
Another attempt by Democrats to circumvent the LAW. This will drag on until the 2020 election so that non-citizens may vote once more. Democrats have vowed to turn Texas Blue and they'll do it by hook and by crook.
Have any non-citizens been shown to be on the Texas Voter rolls? YES! Even in Galveston County:
"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

Gary Miller

Diane. You think Illegal votes are OK as long as they vote Democrat?

Steve Fouga

Stupid question. Do you think voter suppression is alright as long as it's done by Republicans?

George Croix

WHAT 'suppression'?
Who's forcing people legally allowed to do so not to vote?

More talking points.....

Steve Fouga

George, it's been done for years, by both parties, using everything from subtle strategies to outright intimidation. I was reacting to a dumb question, not to the specifics of this accusation.

Carlos Ponce

What the Left considers "voter suppression" is not real voter suppression:
1. Requiring Voter ID.
2. Allowing only registered voters to vote.
3. Setting a time deadline to register to vote before an election. They want same day registration.
4. Requiring those who self-identified as non-citizens to show proof their status has changed.
5. The law that says only citizens can vote.
6. Not allowing felons to vote.
7. Not allowing a person to vote in multiple states even if they own property in each.
What's next? Allowing pets to vote?
"Dog Registered To Vote By Thomas Tolbert, New Mexico Man"
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dog-registered-to-vote-thomas-tolbert_n_1314963
His dog "Buddy" was registered as a Democrat.

George Croix

BS, Steve.
Unless someone is physically preventing another person from voting, THAT person is 'suppressing' themselves.
Not quite the same thing, and doesn't get the base fired up.....

Seems to me that ACTUAL vote suppression takes place whenever anybody...anybody...casts a vote they have nor legal right to cast. They've just nullified, which is about as suppressed as can be, a legitimate vote.
Why anyone would oppose a clean voter registration record seems patently obvious to me.....I suspect it does to the folks repeating 'suppression' ad nauseum, too....

Steve Fouga

Not B.S. at all, George. As an example, gerrymandering is a very prevalent and insidious form of suppression, by preventing a voter's right to make an impact. You can't argue that it doesn't, because gerrymandering wouldn't happen if it didn't. That's it's purpose. It doesn't suppress the vote; it suppresses the voter.

By the way, I'm not saying this is a particularly Republican form of suppression.

George Croix

That's politics, Steve. Nothing new there in my lifetime, other than a federal gov't. trying to decide what candidate will win by mandating the minority vote makeup.
Still, it's only 'suppression' when it fits a desired narrative.
The VOTER can still vote.
Nothing stops him/her from doing so.

Voter suppression?
BS it still is....
Just more excuses.....

Carlos Ponce

"The LAW states that non-citizens may NOT vote in the State of Texas."

Ray Taft

If the illegals were voting for Republicans, Democrats wouldn’t care about any so-called voter suppression!

Carlos Ponce

Diane posted, "the Voting Rights law was gutted by a divided Supreme Court, who reasoned that racial bias in voting no longer needed protection...."
The case you refer to is Shelby County v. Eric Holder (2013).
https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-96_6k47.pdf
Petitioner Shelby County, in the covered jurisdiction of Alabama,sued the Attorney General in Federal District Court in Washington, D. C., seeking a declaratory judgment that sections 4(b) and 5 are facially unconstitutional, as well as a permanent injunction against their enforcement.
The Supreme Court found those two sections were un-Constitutional.

George Croix

WHAT voter suppression?
Name it.
How about ANYBODY else? WHAT is 'suppression' about legal voting?
Anybody?
Anybod?
HOW is anyone 'suppressed' by legitimate voter roles?
You can't say, as usual, actually as always, because it's just a talking point.
Total 'suppression' BS.
Again.....
But, keep it up. The usual suspects eat it up....

Can't fix that.............

Jarvis Buckley

Socialist Democrats are really hurting our country .

Jim Forsythe

Jarvis, how many Democrats are Socialist Democrats? Do you include me?
Are you far right which refers to political party members that are fascist leaning and deeply conservative.
Of course you are not, but if someone said that all Republican's are fascist it would be the same as someone saying Socialist Democrats represent Democrats. I will not refer to anyone as a fascist.

George Croix

Duly noted are NO examples of 'voter suppression'...not a thing preventing anybody legally allowed to vote to do so.
Just more dishonest left wing blather......
Nothing new there.........

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