by WorldTribune Staff, January 29, 2019
Some 95,000 non-citizens are registered to vote in Texas and about 58,000 non-citizens may have voted in Texas elections between 1996 and 2018, state election officials said.
Texas Secretary of State David Whitley said on Jan. 25 that the large number of non-citizens registered was discovered in a year-long evaluation of voter rolls.
“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,” Whitley said.
County election officials across the state will receive lists of anyone identified as a “non-U.S. citizen” who voted, Whitley’s office said.
Election officials will then send out letters to the alleged non-citizen voters, giving them 30 days to provide proof of citizenship, said Sam Taylor, a spokesman for Whitley’s office.
“Identifying ineligible registrations and removing them from the voter rolls is the first step toward restoring integrity to our electoral process,” James Dickey, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, said in a statement. “We can not afford voter fraud in 2020 and must stop this abuse now. It is a crime and it is damaging to our republic.”
Whitley’s office said in a statement that it has forwarded information about the non-citizen voters to the Texas Attorney General’s Office, which investigates and prosecutes cases of voter fraud.
Several cases of voter fraud were filed recently by the Attorney General’s Office in Tarrant County, including an alleged voter fraud ring in Fort Worth that led to the indictment of four women: Leticia Sanchez, Leticia Sanchez Tepichin, Maria Solis and Laura Parra, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Illegally voting is a second-degree felony, punishable by two to 20 years in prison.
In 2017, a Grand Prairie mother of four, Rosa Maria Ortega, made national news when she was sentenced to eight years in prison for illegally voting. Ortega, who has a green card and isn’t a U.S. citizen, lost an appeal to the 2nd Court of Appeals late last year. It is uncertain if she plans to appeal that verdict, the Star-Telegram reported.
“Every single instance of illegal voting threatens democracy in our state and deprives individual Texans of their voice,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “My Election Fraud Unit stands ready to investigate and prosecute crimes against the democratic process when needed.”
The Attorney General’s Office notes that state law allows non-citizens to receive driver’s licenses by showing “proof of lawful presence” to the DPS.
“However, only citizens are eligible to vote,” the Attorney General’s Office said.
President Donald Trump tweeted the news as a sign that non-citizen voter fraud is a real issue.
“He was met instantly with a furious media backlash that shows Democrats and their allies simply do not want to safeguard the integrity of our electoral process,” columnist Joe Schaeffer wrote for LibertyNation.com. “The intensity of the attacks shines a light on the total hollowness of all that babbling about ‘the sanctity of our elections’ found amid these outlets’ ridiculous claims that Russia hijacked the 2016 presidential vote.”
Schaeffer continued: “The controlled media spin – armed with the usual ‘fact checks’ – immediately kicked in that Trump was ‘distorting’ the figures because it has yet to be confirmed that all 58,000 of the documented non-citizens who voted were in fact ineligible, as there is a chance some may have become naturalized along the way. By hyping this angle, the media showed that the true point of the outrage exercise is to discourage any and all attempts to crack down on illegal voting whatsoever.
“For while Democrats and biased reporters want you to think that the 95,000 figure is a final finding stretched out over years and therefore small beans in a state where some 15.8 million people are registered to vote, Texas officials have stated that this is only the beginning of their efforts to root out illegal voting. Those accusing the president of manipulating numbers are in fact promoting a much greater distortion by failing to accurately report this crucial fact.”