US District Judge Fred Biery on Wednesday blocked an initiative led by Acting Texas Secretary of State David Whitley to flag registered Texas voters suspected of being non-citizens.
In January the Texas Secretary of State’s office issued an election advisory that conferred with the Department of Public Safety records to confirm Texas voters’ citizenship status. This resulted in approximately 98,000 voters on a list that would be sent out to local Texas election counties to scrutinize the eligibility of an individual on that list if there were to try to vote. The court order prevents Texas counties from purging any of the 98,000 on the government officials list from the rolls or issuing letters demanding these individuals prove their citizenship without a court’s prior approval.
Of the nearly 100,000 names flagged, only 80 have been confirmed to have an ineligible citizenship status to vote. However, about 25,000 names have been shown to be improperly flagged because they became naturalized citizens at varying points between the six year requirement to update a DPS record.
The federal district judge acknowledged that non-American naturalized citizens are ineligible to vote, so the state can proceed with investigations in confirming a registered voter’s citizenship status as long as it is done without directly communicating with anyone on the current list.