Calling out election fraud in Dallas County, a Texas state senator wants voter registration rolls purged of illegal aliens and non-citizens.
Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, cited research showing 356 non-citizens voted in Dallas County between September 1999 and March 2007.
The problem goes farther and deeper.
In 2015, the election-watch group True the Vote found eight Texas counties had more registered voters than voting-age adults. Most of the counties were in the Rio Grande Valley, along the Mexican border.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton now reports that “the process of removing ineligible voters who self-report as non-citizens at jury duty is not being followed correctly, or even at all, in various counties.”
Last year, Rosa Maria Ortega, 37, a Mexican national living in a Dallas suburb, was sentenced to eight years in prison for illegally voting in elections in 2012 and 2014. She faces deportation.
Such convictions have been rare, but Huffines said he is “confident” that local district attorneys will prosecute more cases.
“We will not allow non-citizens and illegal immigrants to shape our future or cancel out the vote of a registered citizen,” he said.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation is currently wrangling with Harris County, the state’s largest, to obtain voting records there. When the county balked, PILF sued under the federal Freedom of Information Act. After Paxton’s office affirmed the legality of PILF’s request, the county countersued in state court to block the inquiry.
Huffines said this week that he will file legislation requiring verification of citizenship by voter-registration applicants in Texas.
PILF applauded the idea. Only Kansas has such a requirement, which is tied up in court with legal challenges.
“Texas could be a perfect proving ground,” PILF spokesman Logan Churchwell said.
Meantime, Texas could take an intermediate step that doesn’t require an act of the biennial state Legislature, which doesn’t reconvene until 2019. (If the 2017 session was any indication, Huffines will face a cool reception.)
Texas’s Secretary of State Office, which oversees the voter rolls, does not cross-reference its database with the Department of Public Safety. By administrative order, Texas could adopt Virginia’s policy of referring identity and residency information required on driver’s license applications to the state elections office.
Such screening could begin tomorrow, without waiting for the Legislature.
“Just by having the Secretary of State and DPS talk to each other, you could [remove non-citizens from the voter rolls]with less effort and less cost,” Churchwell noted.