Texas Settles Lawsuits Over Its Bungled Voter Citizenship Review

click to enlarge Texas Secretary of State David Whitley answers questions from the Senate's nominations committee. - YouTube / KUT Austin
YouTube / KUT Austin
Texas Secretary of State David Whitley answers questions from the Senate's nominations committee.
Texas has settled a trio of lawsuits over its botched attempt to kick illegal voters off the rolls. The review, launched in January, questioned the citizenship of some 100,000 of the state's residents based on shaky data.

Texas Secretary of State David Whitley has agreed to officially terminate the investigation as part of the deal announced late last week, according to an Associated Press report. The move settles three suits brought by voting rights groups, which argued that the state's review was unconstitutional and singled out voters of color.

The state has also agreed to pay the plaintiffs' $450,000 in costs and attorney fees, according to AP's reporting.

San Antonio Federal Judge Fred Biery, who put the brakes on the review in February, said in his order that only 80 people had at that point been identified as potentially ineligible to vote.

“This settlement brings an end to a deplorable Texas farce, in which state leaders shamelessly lied about alleged widespread fraud by Latino and other immigrants, grabbing headlines and national attention,” said Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, which represented citizens flagged in the review.

Problems with the state's investigation came to light shortly after its launch, but not before Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas AG Ken Paxton publicly announced that Whitley's numbers were evidence of widespread voter fraud. President Donald Trump also erroneously tweeted that 58,000 non-citizens had voted in Texas, which was "just the tip of the iceberg."

Whitley has yet to be confirmed by the Texas Senate over his role in the review. If he doesn't receive an approval vote by the body, his term will expire on May 27, the end of the current legislative session.

Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.

KEEP SA CURRENT!

Since 1986, the SA Current has served as the free, independent voice of San Antonio, and we want to keep it that way.

Becoming an SA Current Supporter for as little as $5 a month allows us to continue offering readers access to our coverage of local news, food, nightlife, events, and culture with no paywalls.

Join today to keep San Antonio Current.

Scroll to read more San Antonio News articles

Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

Join SA Current Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.