On Friday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that after an 11-month investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety perusing state records going back to 1996, 95,000 people who identified themselves as non-citizens were discovered listed on the voter rolls and an astonishing 58,000 had voted in at least one Texas election.
Paxton stated, “Every single instance of illegal voting threatens democracy in our state and deprives individual Texans of their voice. 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.”
Paxton was echoed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who tweeted, “I support prosecution where appropriate. The State will work on legislation to safeguard against these illegal practices.”
Sam Taylor, a spokesman for the secretary of state, noted that the voters who identified themselves as non-citizens would be contacted by local officials asking them to offer proof that they were indeed citizens. He pointed out that if non-citizens vote in Texas, that’s a felony; if they register to vote, that’s a misdemeanor.
The process discovering the voters identifying as non-citizens was an arduous one, utilizing names, birth dates and full or partial Social Security numbers as the investigation examined voter rolls and public safety records.
As Fox News noted, “President Trump created a commission in 2017 to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the 2016 election. But it was eventually dismantled by Trump after the group faced lawsuits, opposition from states and in-fighting among its members. Trump said at the time that Democrats refused to hand over data ‘because they know that many people are voting illegally.’”
Texas voter ID laws offer a list of acceptable forms of photo ID for voting. These include: a Texas Driver License issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS); a Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS; a Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS; a Texas Handgun License issued by DPS; a United States Military Identification Card containing the person’s photograph; a United States Citizenship Certificate containing the person’s photograph, or a United States Passport (book or card.)
If a voter does not possess one of the foregoing methods of identification and cannot obtain one, here is a list of the supporting forms of ID that can be presented: a copy or original of a government document that shows the voter’s name and an address, including the voter’s voter registration certificate; copy of or original current utility bill; a copy of or original bank statement; a copy of or original government check; a copy of or original paycheck; or a copy of or original of (a) a certified domestic (from a U.S. state or territory) birth certificate or (b) a document confirming birth admissible in a court of law which establishes the voter’s identity (which may include a foreign birth document).
Last April, a federal appeals court upheld Texas’ voter identification law, which had been challenged by those who felt it was discriminatory against black and Hispanic voters. The federal appeals court overturned a lower-court ruling striking down the law in 2017.