VOTER FRAUD ALERT: The @TXsecofstate discovered approx 95,000 individuals identified by DPS as non-U.S. citizens have a matching voter registration record in TX, approx 58,000 of whom have voted in TX elections. Any illegal vote deprives Americans of their voice.
— Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) January 25, 2019
Courtesy of HuffPo:
A top Texas official is walking back inflammatory accusations of massive voter fraud in the state. But as the claims unravel in the face of tough scrutiny, the damage they caused may be impossible to undo. That may be exactly the point.
Texas Secretary of State David Whitley and Attorney General Ken Paxton, both Republicans, told county election officials last week that they suspected there were 95,000 noncitizens on their voting rolls, 58,000 of whom appeared to have voted in one or more elections since 1996. But that claim, which was amplified by President Donald Trump, is quickly falling apart.
On Tuesday, Whitley’s office conceded that at least 20,000 of the registered voters flagged as potential noncitizens actually had had their citizenship verified. And there may be more. Paxton, who blasted out a news release with Whitley’s findings suggesting there was fraud, has not said anything since the numbers have come under scrutiny.
County election officials are investigating the names further and suspect there may be more eligible voters, including naturalized citizens, on the list.
But even as it becomes clear that Paxton and Whitley exaggerated the extent of voter fraud, it may not matter.
To many, the debacle in Texas is a just the latest chapter in a story that has played out over and over again in several states across the country in recent years. An official or activist group will make a salacious claim of illegal voting using unverified information and grab headlines before the claim is investigated and debunked in the ensuing months. Almost always, the claim turns out to be either wildly exaggerated or untrue, but it doesn’t really matter ― people remember only the original, scintillating accusation. While several studies have shown voter fraud is not a widespread problem, politicians use the simmering uncertainty about election integrity to justify new voting restrictions.
The Republicans will just keep on doing this, despite being called out by the media, because it works.
The only way to stop it would be to ensure that anybody who resorted to these tactics was voted out of office at the first opportunity and then have their careers damaged beyond all repair.
But since this is Texas I have serious doubts that either of those things is likely to happen.