One Texas lawmaker asked election officials to clean up their voter rolls from “illegal voting by noncitizens” in a county that has been plagued with a host of voter fraud allegations and investigations.
State Senator Don Huffines (R-Dallas) voiced concerns over “illegal voting by noncitizens” this week in a letter to Dallas County elections officials. He called upon County Clerk, the Honorable John Warren, and Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole to update the public on their progress in removing noncitizen voting registrants.
“A fraudulent vote not only cancels out a legitimate one, but also casts doubt over the entire system, sowing distrust in government and dampening voter turnout,” wrote Huffines, citing the Texas Election Code which “requires United States citizenship in order to vote.”
He questioned Warren and Pippins-Poole if the county was acting in compliance with state law and election codes that call for “monthly compilation of a list of noncitizens registered to vote” as well as the cancellation of illegal voters. Huffines asked how many voters they removed for noncitizenship over the past decade and if any of the registrants voted illegally in federal, state, and/or local elections. He even inquired as to which elections these noncitizens voted. Lastly, he queried elections officials if they reported this “illegal conduct” to the Dallas County District Attorney or the Texas Attorney General’s offices.
The letter cited a report by the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute (TCCRI), which identified that between September 1999 to March 21, 2007, Dallas County cancelled the voter registrations of 1,889 noncitizens registered to vote. The report highlighted that before canceling these individuals from the voter rolls, 356 of them already voted in county elections.
Last year, a judge sentenced Rosa Maria Ortega, a Mexican national, to eight years in prison for “illegal voting.” She cast ballots in numerous Dallas County elections over 10 years, unaware that she was not a U.S. citizen but a U.S. resident and, therefore, ineligible to vote.
The letter also referenced a four-county survey conducted by the Office of the Attorney General, revealing 165 “unlawfully registered noncitizen voters” were removed from the voter rolls but prior to identifying themselves as noncitizens at jury duty, this group of 165 cast 100 illegal votes in Texas elections.
More recently, Texas AG Ken Paxton noted “the process for removing ineligible voters who self-report as noncitizens at jury duty is not being followed correctly, or even at all in various counties.”
Although Huffines said he remains “encouraged” by Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson and her office’s investigations into voter fraud claims, he believes the public deserves to know what steps local election officials are taking “to ensure our elections are fair, and free from fraud and undue influence.”
Dallas County voter fraud largely has reflected suspicious mail-in ballots, which overshadowed two election cycles. Breitbart Texas reported Pippins-Poole sequestered roughly 700 suspicious absentee ballots, temporarily freezing the results of a May 2017 local election. Months later, the suspect accused of forging signatures on these ballots was indicted. In response, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 5 to stiffen up penalties for voter mail fraud. Even so, in March 2018, Johnson’s office investigated more than 1,200 questionable mail-in ballot applications. Then, the losing Democrat challenger in the primary race for Dallas County DA sued the winning Democrat candidate and others, alleging voter fraud.
To date, 13 Texas counties have more registered voters than eligible residents, according to the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), a national election integrity law firm. On Wednesday, the Foundation tweeted supporting Huffines’ actions in “raising awareness to noncitizen voting in Dallas County.” The watchdog nonprofit noted, “Verifying citizenship in registration is long overdue and Texas has a golden opportunity to build a model for others to follow.”
Good on @DonHuffines for raising awareness to noncitizen voting in Dallas County, #TEXAS. Verifying citizenship in registration is long overdue and TX has a golden opportunity to build a model for others to follow.
— PublicInterestLegal (@PILFoundation) April 25, 2018
In March, Breitbart Texas reported the Foundation filed a lawsuit against Harris County for allegedly failing to disclose noncitizen registered voter records as required by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), more commonly known as the “Motor Voter” law. At the time, PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams commented, in part: “Election officials should be transparent. Our requests to inspect records will help educate lawmakers and the public alike on how noncitizens are gaining entry into the voting system; how long they remain; how they vote; and what we can do to fix the issue.”
Since then, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton urged a state court judge to facilitate the Foundation’s request after Harris County sued over a relatively unfavorable ruling that noncitizen records should be disclosed under Texas law. Both federal and state lawsuits for Harris County records continue to date.
The PILF also put Bexar County on federal notice for failing to disclose noncitizen registered voter records.
In a prepared statement, Huffines says he plans to file legislation that requires verification of citizenship in the voter registration process. He said, “Texans deserve much more than the careless, haphazard enforcement” of existing voting provisions.
“When the Texas Legislature convenes in 2019, I will file legislation to verify the citizenship of every single applicant who registers to vote. It’s an outrage that such a common sense step isn’t being currently utilized to secure our elections.”
Huffines represents Senate District 16, which comprises a substantial geographic area in northern Dallas County.
Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.