Texas Secretary of State Says 58,000 Non-Citizens Voted in Elections

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The Texas secretary of state issued on Friday afternoon the results of a year-long evaluation that showed 95,000 non-U.S. citizens are registered to vote in the state and approximately 58,000 of them voted in one or more elections.

Texas Secretary of State David Whitley indicated the individuals were found over the past year by his office and the Texas Department of Public Safety in an evaluation of the voter registration rolls.

Whitley issued an advisory to county voter registrars on Friday about voter registration list maintenance activities including identifying non-U.S. citizens who are registered to vote in the state.

If a person votes in an election knowing he or she is not eligible to vote it is a second-degree felony in Texas.

"Integrity and efficiency of elections in Texas require accuracy of our state's voter rolls, and my office is committed to using all available tools under the law to maintain an accurate list of registered voters. Our agency has provided extensive training opportunities to county voter registrars so that they can properly perform list maintenance activities in accordance with federal and state law, which affords every registered voter the chance to submit proof of eligibility," said Whitley.

"I would like to thank the Department of Public Safety for providing us with this valuable information so that we can continue to guarantee the right to vote for all eligible Texas voters, who should not have their voices muted by those who abuse the system," Whitley said.

Whitley's office provided the data to the attorney general's office, who vowed he would investigate and prosecute illegal voting activity.

"Every single instance of illegal voting threatens democracy in our state and deprives individual Texans of their voice. We're honored to have partnered with the Texas Secretary of State's office in the past on voter initiatives and we will spare no effort in assisting with these troubling cases," said Attorney General Ken Paxton.

"Nothing is more vital to preserving our Constitution than the integrity of our voting process, and my office will do everything within its abilities to solidify trust in every election in the state of Texas. I applaud Secretary of State Whitley for his proactive work in safeguarding our elections," said Paxton.

Texas law allows lawfully present noncitizens to obtain driver's licenses by showing proof of lawful presence to the Department of Public Safety, however, only citizens are eligible to vote. Currently, state law does not require verification of a voter's statement that a person is a citizen.

From 2005-2017, the attorney general's office prosecuted 97 defendants for numerous voter fraud violations. In 2018, 33 defendants were prosecuted for election fraud.