The Texas secretary of state has agreed to end a review of the voter rolls for supposed non-citizens that was flawed from the start.

The announcement Friday never should have been necessary. Not that we think voter rolls should not be examined, by statute they should.

Under the state statute, “to maintain the integrity of the state’s voter registration records, state law requires both the secretary of state and the local voter registrar to regularly review the voter registration lists and compare them with information received from other government agencies to ensure that the state is maintaining an accurate list. Voter registrars work to verify the accuracy of the lists on a regular basis.”

However, within days, the secretary of state’s office notified election offices statewide that its initial list might have been inaccurate.

So much for accuracy.

Adding to the original inaccuracy, many county voter registrar’s offices had already sent letters demanding people prove their citizenship or be removed from the voter rolls and have their names referred to the district attorney’s office for possible criminal investigation.

Within days, the list prompted three lawsuits by civil and voting rights groups, who claimed that the list targeted minority voters and naturalized citizens, and who described the review as an attempted voter purge.

Friday’s announcement to end the review came as a part of a settlement to end the lawsuits.

The original review had been mired in controversy since day one, largely because of the faulty methodology the state used to compile the list and the fanfare with which it was announced.

The secretary of state’s office matched voter rolls with data it requested from the Texas Department of Public Safety for people who at some point in the last few years told the department they were not citizens when they obtained a driver’s license or ID card. The review, however, did not account for people who might have become naturalized citizens since then and weren’t required to update the public safety department.

Voting is one of the very basic rights in the United States. The haphazard manner in which the review of voter rolls was done is unacceptable.

We agree with U.S. District Judge Fred Biery, who months earlier wrote the state’s review that the letters exemplified “the power of government to strike fear and anxiety to intimidate the least powerful among us.”

• Dave Mathews

Dave Mathews: 409-683-5258; dave.mathews@galvnews.com

(65) comments

Carlos Ponce

You may agree with U.S. District Judge Fred Biery, who wrote the state’s review exemplified “the power of government to strike fear and anxiety to intimidate the least powerful among us, ” but that was sheer hyperbole.
Intimidated? Only if you don't have the proper documentation.
The people in question indicated they were not citizens. The review was a result of their actions.
Statewide, with this review several turned themselves in who were registered to vote but were not citizens.
Non-citizens are not permitted to vote. That's the law. But as pointed out in a column in this newspaper.
"...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."
One vote would probably not have changed the outcome of those elections. But was he the only one?

Emile Pope

A $450,000 fishing expedition paid for by taxpayers. A phony propaganda stunt made up to try and support donald’s lie that millions of people voted illegally. Seems like the only criminal is trump...

Paul Hyatt

If you are looking for criminals which I seriously doubt that you are all you would have to have done is open your eyes during the Obama administration. Every department under him was full of criminals that HE appointed. He was the one who ran the illegal wire tapping on a political opponent which back in the 70's cost Nixon the presidency when he was caught doing that. One has to wonder why the demoncrats have not jumped all over that one like they did with Nixon. Could it be because they were in on it and approved of it like you do????

Emile Pope

And you have evidence of this?

Dan Freeman

830 days into the Trump administration and his Department of Justice has not indicted a single member of the Obama administration. They have indicted 34 and convicted 6 associates of the Trump administration. There is no evidence of the criminality claimed by Mr. Hyatt.

Carlos Ponce

Patience, Dan, patience. Wait until the Inspector General's report.
But they did indict Greg Craig with conspiring to hide his paid collusion with a foreign government and lying about that work to federal officials.
Greg Craig was President Barack Obama’s top White House lawyer.
Now you may argue that the indictment came from things unrelated to the Obama administration - but the same can be said the indictment of Trump's associates. Of the 34, most of those were RUSSIANS - NOT MEMBERS OF THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION. But typical of Dan to stretch a point.[rolleyes]

Emile Pope

You just keep repeating the same garbage. Craig wasn't indicted for his actions when he worked for President Obama. He was indicted for his actions after he left office when he worked for Manafort. And oh by the way, he was in no way connected to President Obama or his administration when he committed those actions. The people indicted by Mueller were directly connected to trump, his administration, or his campaign. You got nuthin...

Carlos Ponce

"Craig wasn't indicted for his actions when he worked for President Obama. "
Neither was Manafort indicted for his actions when he worked for President Trump. Neither was Flynn, etc. Yet Dan Freeman insists on emphasizing those indictments and hanging them on the Trump administration.
Some call it a double standard. I call it hypocrisy.
Old Earth saying: "What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander."

Carlos Ponce

The purging of non-citizens from the voting rolls started with Texas statutes (Texas Election Code § 16.033) long before Trump became president. The Galveston County example came before Trump became president.

Bailey Jones

My observation, having worked some recent elections is that the right and left have different approaches to voting and voters. On the right the emphasis is on guaranteeing that no one votes who isn't entitled to, even at the risk that a few entitled voters don't get to vote - due to either having been "purged" or not having the correct ID or registration. The left tries to ensure that every entitled voter gets to vote, and may err on the side of letting a few un-entitled voters get through. It occurs to me that what we need is simply a more accurate registration system. The place to start this is in high school. Every student should be registered automatically, and that registration should last for life. Registration should be automatic for all immigrants upon becoming a citizen. Citizens from out of state should be registered automatically upon obtaining a state drivers license. And if the state insists on requiring ID for all voters, the state should ensure that every citizen of the state has that ID, and that registration is automatic upon receiving it. Voting is a right, not a privilege. It's incumbent on the state to ensure that every citizen can exercise that right.

Carlos Ponce

"On the right the emphasis is on guaranteeing that no one votes who isn't entitled to..."
You further go on to write about a " risk that a few entitled voters don't get to vote".
What risk? All entitled voters are allowed to vote.
Is the purging of non-citizens from the voter rolls AUTOMATIC? No. There is due process under state law. If you previously informed the DPS that you were not a citizen then your name may appear on the "list". Then county officials will make certain whether the information is corrector needs updating. If naturalized your name will be removed from the "list". No big deal.
As far as providing ID to vote the list is extensive as to what is acceptable. And if you show up without it you are still allowed to vote using a provisional ballot if your name appears on the Voter Rolls.
"Texas’ Voter ID Law Does Not Discriminate and Can Stand, Appeals Panel Rules"
That's not from me but from the New York Times.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/27/us/texas-voter-id.html

Emile Pope

The right knows that most people vote Democratic. Therefore more people voting works against them. So they try to keep the number of voters down by targeting voters they think will vote for Democrats and coming up with rules to try and keep them from voting. Notice how the so called voter ID laws always, always, always keep more qualified people from voting than the fraud they are supposed to prevent. That's why they use isolated cases as a reason to disenfranchise thousands and hundreds of thousands people from being able to vote.

Carlos Ponce

"The right knows that most people vote Democratic." - Not in Texas. God has Blessed Texas!

Bailey Jones

"58,000 non-citizens voted in Texas, with 95,000 non-citizens registered to vote. This is just the tip of the iceberg." - D J Trump 1/27/2019
When will our good conservative friends demand that the president retract this slander against Texans?

Carlos Ponce

Trump was just repeating what Texas officials reported. To be candid one cannot Trump for what has been officially reported and the findings are still not assured. Has the voter review turned up any non-citizens on the voter rolls? Yes.

Emile Pope

Repeating statements that he knew were false is lying. Lying. Lying. Lying.

Carlos Ponce

Then why do you do it, Emile?

David Hardee

Another $450,000.00 of public funds is devoured by lawyers by generating a specious lawsuit.
Only the skewing of the intent by a lawyer's hyperbole and a (brother lawyer) judge's condescending can this public service action to secure the veracity of the voter rolls is allowed to enter into litigation or settlement. These are the frequent type acts from our Doctors of Jurisprudence that have sullied their once august reputation. Draining the swamp is happening at the federal level and needs to also happen locally.
A voter whether they are or not a citizen being asked to provide proof is not a violation of any right.
To the “chilling effect” comment from the judge comes the conclusion that he is simple mindedly putting the effect on the group-person above the “chilling effect on the collective person (society). His conclusion based on the intent and the ineptness of the procedure could easily be considered as a mirror image on his method of making judgments. Government is frequently inept mostly because of the ambiguity of the laws written, administered, litigated and judged by these by the Doctors of Jurisprudence. Touché!

Emile Pope

Apparently the courts disagreed...

Jim Forsythe

Under the terms of settlement, Whitley must retract his January advisory and ask counties to stop purging voters on the basis of the lists he sent. Naturalized citizens will not be targeted anymore.
Now his office will have to make sure someone should be on the list first, before taking actions.
This is different than before, as he sent out a list( to the counties and they sent it to the one's accused) and said prove you do not belong on it.

Some may think that the ruling means no change, but it does not. Before, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley compiled his purge list by using Department of Public Safety records to identify individuals who presented documents indicating that they were noncitizens when they obtained or renewed a driver’s license even thou they may have become a Naturalized Citizen since obtained or renewed a driver’s license . With the new ruling , this is no longer expectable. Now Texas will undertake a narrow and restrained approach, using much more detailed, precise criteria and up-to-date information to maintain its voter rolls. Naturalized citizens will not be targeted, and voters suspected of lacking citizenship will have a real opportunity to prove they’ve been misidentified.
What Whitley did not consider is the fact that more than 50,000 Texans are naturalized each year and he used a shotgun approach to determining if someone was voting legally.
Now his office will have to make sure someone should be on the list first before taking actions.
This is different than before, as he sent out a list and said prove you do not belong on it.


Carlos Ponce

New lists will be generated. Let's see how many on this list. Did the original list expose any non-citizens on the voting rolls? Yes.

Emile Pope

Nope. Where are the indictments?

Carlos Ponce

Indictments without an investigation? You'd make a lousy attorney.

Emile Pope

Really? I’m not a lawyer and I did as well as the state of Texas in the lawsuit...

Carlos Ponce

The Texas attorneys put an end to the litigation and made the plaintiffs sign off to prevent future litigation. If allowed to continue this litigation would have cost the state far more than the money paid.
Emile posts, "I’m not a lawyer". That's evident.

Emile Pope

They put an end to the litigation the way the Germans put an end to WW2...

Jim Forsythe

If he continues the practice of including Naturalized Citizen that have obtained or renewed a driver’s license since the list was compiled, the Texas Secretary of State will have to answer why he decided not to comply with order.

Jim Forsythe

Texas Secretary of State David Whitley will be enquired to do the work of reducing the numbers, and not rely on others to do his job. No more list of 95,000 coming from the state . He will have to make sure that someone belongs on the list or he will be not following the Judges orders .
This is a change that makes Texas Secretary of State David Whitley forced to do his job.
Instead of Galveston County paying for this, the State will have to pay for reducing the numbers.

Carlos Ponce

"Texas Secretary of State David Whitley will be enquired to do the work of reducing the numbers"
But you gave the real process earlier:
"The Secretary of State will obtain from DPS a list of all individuals who are at least 18 years old and who hold a current (unexpired) driver’s license or personal identification card and presented to DPS documents indicating non-U.S. citizenship at their last DPS visit in which they were issued a new or renewed driver’s license or personal identification card. DPS verifies the validity of documents indicating non-U.S. citizenship (lawful presence documents) through the SAVE database at the time of the person’s DPS visit. "
DPS still provides THE LIST and VERIFY THE VALIDITY OF DOCUMENTS INDICATING NON US CITIZENSHIP."

Emile Pope

At the end of the day the state lost and had to pay for the effort...

Carlos Ponce

At the end of the day - the purging of non-citizens continues. The money paid is for attorney's fees - not punitive fees.

Carlos Ponce

Addendum: At the end of the day - the purging of non-citizens from voting rolls continues. The money paid is for attorney's fees - not punitive fees.

Emile Pope

Money is money. It was paid...

Jim Forsythe

If he continues the practice of including Naturalized Citizen that have obtained or renewed a driver’s license since the list was compiled, the Texas Secretary of State will have to answer why he decided not to comply with order.

Carlos Ponce

Jim, The Secretary of State does not compile the list, the DPS does.
What part of: " The Secretary of State will obtain from DPS" and " DPS verifies the validity of documents indicating non-U.S. citizenship " don't you understand?

Jim Forsythe

The State can not just accuse someone, but must have a reason they are investigated, not just that they are on a outdated list.
The DPS list is not up to date, as it does not reflect people that have become new citizens of the USA.

Carlos Ponce

"The DPS list is not up to date, as it does not reflect people that have become new citizens of the USA." True. That's why the individual counties INVESTIGATE!

Emile Pope

I understand that the state lost and had to pay a half million dollars of taxpayers money for a fishing expedition to support trump’s lie. Apparently our Baghdad Bob 2.0 fails to understand...

Carlos Ponce

We understand that Emile knows little about civil litigation. A settlement is not a loss but an agreement made between both parties.

Emile Pope

An agreement that one party paid and the other party received the check. One side is $450,000 richer and the other isn't...

Carlos Ponce

Read the terms of the agreement, Emile.
The initial lawsuits brought a suspension to investigation.
The agreement starts them up again.
They could have fought them to the end which would cost the state millions in litigation and not remove one non-citizen from the voting rolls prior to the 2020 Election Cycle.
The voting rolls need purging of non-citizens, those who have died and those who have moved out of county.

Emile Pope

So you admit that the state had a losing case. I accept your apology...

Carlos Ponce

"So you admit that the state had a losing case."
No, and no apology offered.
My original post on the SETTLEMENT stated it was to expiate matters.
Their original intent was to drag this case on and on well into the 2020 election cycle. With this settlement, litigation CEASES, STOPS, IS ENDED on these lawsuits - and the purging can continue.
The state could have WON the case but cost MILLIONS of DOLLARS and not be settled until it's too late.

Emile Pope

Now explain how the Nazis actually would have won WW2 but they surrendered to save time and money...

Carlos Ponce

Emile, that example you gave is not an example of a legal settlement. Apparently the concept of a legal settlement is beyond your mental ability.

Emile Pope

The fact that you refuse to accept that the state lost their case and make up ridiculous excuses to try and explain that they didn't tells more about your mental state...

David Hardee

Emile seems pleased with the chaos and wasting of public funds. A politician in the making?

Emile Pope

You should be angry at the ones wasting them...

Carlos Ponce

You must mean the plaintiffs who brought the lawsuits in the first place, Emile. They got money for their time but nothing really changed. The purging of non-citizens' names from voter rolls continues. They just hit Hillary's "RESET". Button.

Carol Andrews

Carlos, “they” got OUR taxpayer money and it’s the fault of people like Galveston County Tax Assessor, Cheryl Johnson and TXSOS Whitley, whose sole goal was to rush to judgement and strike fear in their conservative base. Conservatives have been played. Taxpayers paid for that fear because of those two.

Jim Forsythe

No, the Judge now requires the State to do the work and not the counties. No more blanket list of 95,000 sent out from the state for political reasons.
The State can not just accuse someone, but must have a reason they are investigated, not just that they where on a outdated list.
The DPS list is not up to date, as it does not reflect people that have become new citizens of the USA.
If someone is removed and later found they should not have been removed from list, they must be immediately be placed back on the list. They cannot be required to reregister to VOTE.
The bulk of the cost will be on the State and not at the local level.

Carlos Ponce

Carol Andrews, yes they got the money but consider the costs of continued litigation well into the 2020 voting cycle both in monetary and political costs.
"Yes we eventually won but spent millions in Texas' money doing it!" -
Would that be better????????
Would that make Carol Andrews happy??????
It's NOT Cheryl Johnson's fault. She's doing her job.
One day we'll find out just how many non-citizens were on the Galveston County voting rolls and just how many have been voting. Then you'll look back and say, "Well done, Cheryl Johnson!"

Carlos Ponce

"No, the Judge now requires the State to do the work and not the counties."
Not true Jim. Read page six of the agreement:
https://texascivilrightsproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/4-25-10_voter_purge_settlement_agreement.pdf
"The training material and advisory will advise the county voter registrars and elections administrators that they may investigate whether a voter is currently eligible for registration in the county using any lawful means at their disposal." Page 9
"[T]he Secretary of State will provide guidance on some of the means that may be available for counties to investigate voter eligibility.
So the COUNTIES will investigate voter eligibility as per TEXAS LAW (Section 16.033 of the Texas Election Code).
Jim states, "The DPS list is not up to date, as it does not reflect people that have become new citizens of the USA." True, that's why the COUNTIES investigate!

Jim Forsythe

The Secretary of State has a list of things that must be done before a list can be sent to the county voter registrar. The list can only have on it people that are suspected. This prevents a list of 95,000 being sent.
No longer can a President say, Texas has 95,000 people voting that should not be voting .
Now the county voter registrar will not have to do the work the state should have been doing along.

One of the Secretary of State jobs.
9. The Secretary of State will match those DPS records with the voter registration database
using the following criteria:
a. Last Name (including Former Last Name on the Voter Record), First Name, and Full Social Security Number (9 digits);
b. Last Name (including Former Last Name on the Voter Record), First Name, and DPSIssued Driver License or Personal Identification Card Number; or c. Last Name (including Former Last Name on the Voter Record), First Name, Last Four Digits of the Social Security Number, and Date of Birth.
These criteria are used to maximize the likelihood that the individual identified in the DPS database
is the same individual identified in the TEAM database.

The list sent to the county voter registrar--
Thus, the Secretary of State will send to county voter
registrars and elections administrators only the records of voters whose effective date of voter registration is prior to, or no more than 30 calendar days after, the issuance date of the voter’s current driver’s license or personal identification card for which he or she proved lawful presence but not U.S. citizenship

Another of the Secretary of States jobs.
12. After receiving the weekly files from DPS, the Secretary of State will process the data in the same manner as the procedures used for the superset data . Thus, the Secretary of State will match the weekly DPS records with the voter registration database using the three sets of criteria identified above and send to the county voter registrars and elections administrators only the records of voters whose effective date of voter registration is prior to, or no more than 30 calendar days after, the issuance date of the voter’s current driver’s license or personal identification card for which he or she proved lawful presence but not U.S. citizenship.

Carlos Ponce

If you look it up, you find that's what the SOS did back in January, Jim.

David Hardee

Emile – The voter rolls should be maintained frequently – agreed? The procedure to accomplish maintenance should have no devious intent – agreed? The procedure under scrutiny of those with many different agendas will result in disagreements as to intent, fairness and efficiency – agreed?
The disagreement in this specific case is on all 3 points (1) intent, (2) procedure and (3) fairness. The judge found correctly from evidence that procedure flaws caused the result of some voters were identified erroneously as non-citizens and burdened with requirement to supply proof. Unfortunately, errors in procedure and unforeseen circumstance are normal – especially when Public Services (government) do anything. Alone these errors and their result do not support a civil rights violation, standing.
But intent (motive) was the issue raised to create standing for litigation. Civil Rights violation requires an ACTION THAT “What are the most typical civil rights violations? The most common complaint involves allegations of color of law violations. Another common complaint involves racial violence, such as physical assaults, homicides, verbal or written threats, or desecration of property.” Since the result effected no specific class or group and was non-preferential in those asked to produce proof of citizenship and there was no legal repercussion (penalty, fee, etc.) There was no STANDING established.
Though NO STANDING This specious allegation of a civil rights violation base on ludicrous ascertain of “intent” was allowed to proceed. Again and again the law is skewed by lawyer against lawyer in a theatrical performance creating humongous income for lawyers and pilferage of public coffers.
That fact of “intent/motive” was the only litigated issue is profound because the Judges central theme in his decision is “CHILLING EFFECT”. “In a legal context, a chilling effect is the inhibition or discouragement of the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights by the threat of legal sanction. The right that is most often described as being suppressed by a chilling effect is the US constitutional right to free speech.”
Emile – hope my effort is acceptable as reasonable for my first assertion “specious lawsuits and lawyers are devouring public funds.”

P.s. Decisions from courts by a judge (no jury) have become increasingly suspicious for being irrational and motivated from their personal psyche.

Emile Pope

KaChing...

Emile Pope

Not agreed. What was “agreed” was that the state had to pay $450,000 of taxpayers money for a fishing expedition and ham-fisted attempt at voter suppression. If you don’t want to see lawsuits stop breaking the law. And perhaps you should spend your time attacking the lawbreakers instead of those holding them accountable...

Carlos Ponce

No voter suppression, Emile.

David Hardee

A final attempt - if you alone controlled the policy and procedure would you agree voter rolls need to be maintenance and purified?
P.s. - What Is "KaChing meant to convey?

Emile Pope

The fact that something may need to be done does not mean that it has to be done illegally. KaChing means that the lawyers got paid and the state got the bill...apparently the judges disagree with your position...

Carlos Ponce

Emile, I seriously doubt that you have read the original directive and compared it to the legal settlement. If you did you would find they are virtually the same.

Emile Pope

"hope my effort is acceptable as reasonable for my first assertion “specious lawsuits and lawyers are devouring public funds". No. Nothing that you wrote substantiates any of your positions...

Wayne Holt

While we're pummeling each other over this issue, I'd like to add that in a recent primary my vote was thrown out because someone on the county's election board apparently felt my signature on the inner document was not sufficiently an approximation of my signature on the mailing envelope seal area to satisfy them.

When I asked if the people who make these decisions have any training in comparison graphology...nope. When I asked if I could see the ballot that I sent in for myself to verify the discrepancy...nope.

I'm a native born American. How is it possible that my vote was thrown out without as much as hint of regret by the county, while the state is castigated for this maladroit attempt to see that those who shouldn't vote, don't?

Wayne Holt

Just to clarify: I was referring to a mail-in ballot in my previous remarks. I no longer use that form of voting because I don't appreciate being disenfranchised based on some anonymous, untrained opinion about my signature.

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