Texas’s largest county was sued Thursday for failing to identify noncitizens on its voting rolls.
In Houston, the Public Interest Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit against the Harris County Voter Registrar for failing to disclose noncitizen registered voter records as required under federal law.
“Harris County has previously admitted a problem with noncitizen registration and voting,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “The question is not if, but how many noncitizens are participating.”
On multiple occasions, noncitizen voter registration and voting has been documented in the county:
- In April 2015, a sample of 13 cases was presented in which individuals admitted to noncitizenship, or refused to declare their status when applying for voting, yet were registered anyway. The registrar’s office has admitted that noncitizen voting “has and will continue to occur.”
- In May 2015, county voter registration officials testified before the Texas House Elections Committee that “thousands” of noncitizens were discovered in the voter registration system annually. The names reportedly were handed over to the local district attorney for prosecution, but there is no record of prosecutions.
Despite the documented problems, Harris County refused PILF’s requests to inspect voter-registration records or to be furnished documents related to noncitizen registrations. The county’s actions appear to violate the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).
Section 8 of the NVRA allows individuals to request inspection or seek copies of “records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters.”
The Harris County Registrar had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.