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Acting Secretary Of State David Whitley Appears To Be Latest Victim Of His Own Failed Voter Purge

February 22, 2019 - 6:08 pm

AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - Acting Secretary of State David Whitley is on the verge of losing his job. He needs votes from two-thirds of the State Senate to approve of his nomination as Secretary of State and it appears he doesn’t have the numbers. Rice University Political Scientist Mark Jones believes Whitley’s fate was set when he pushed a flawed list of 95-thousand people he said were non-citizens on the State’s voter registry. “Rushing the information out and announcing it as if it was this blockbuster evidence in support of broad conspiracy theories that hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens were voting in US elections.”

In his State Senate Nomination Hearing earlier this month, Whitley faced tough scrutiny from lawmakers about mistakes made in compiling the inaccurate list. Whitley refused to take blame for the flawed methodology used in compiling the list. “When we received the data from DPS (Texas Department of Public Safety) we were confident that it was their best data to determine who in their database were non-citizens.”  It turns out the DPS data failed to take into consideration the non-citizens who eventually became naturalized citizens. Whitley’s office compared the inaccurate DPS list against the State’s voter roll to produce the 95,000 names.

Governor Abbott has referred to the faulty list as a ‘work in progress.’ When asked about the controversy at a Capitol Press Conference Abbott said, “It is essential that the Secretary of State, DPS, counties…everybody with any authority over this whatsoever work collaboratively and swiftly together to make sure our voter rolls are accurate.”

Jones says the best case scenario for Whitley is for no vote to be taken on his nomination by the Senate. “He can serve until the Legislative session is over in May, and then Abbott (Governor Greg Abbott) can replace him with someone else who wouldn’t come up for nomination until the next legislative session in 2021.” 

Whitley is also facing numerous federal lawsuits from civil rights groups who claim he’s guilty of voter suppression and voter intimidation. The first suit was filed by the League of United Latin American Citizens in Federal District Court in San Antonio. This week their lead attorney Luis Vera argued in court that Whitley was in violation of the Voting Rights Act. “You cannot use any tactics whatsoever to threaten or intimidate voters to keep them away from the polls, from voting; it even includes registration.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office claim the compilation of the list and process of releasing it to county election officials was done legally. In court lawyers for the state argued no laws were broken. The Attorney General’s spokesman, Marc Rylander released the following statement:

“The arguments our office made in court demonstrate that this effort is not only legal, but it’s necessary to protect the voting right of all Texans. The other side’s arguments ably demonstrate this entire lawsuit is really nothing more than an exercise in politics. We continue to look forward to defending the voting rights of all Texans by assuring that everyone on the voter roll in Texas is eligible to vote.”