Wednesday, September 02, 2015
8 Texas counties list more voters than residents
No law prevents localities from having more registered voters than voting-age residents, and eight Texas counties do.
Now a vote-watch group accuses the counties of violating the National Voting Rights Act by failing to purge dead and ineligible voters.
“We are deeply concerned (that) voter rolls contain substantial numbers of ineligible voters,” True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht stated in a letter to the eight Texas counties.
The counties — Loving, Brooks, McMullen, Roberts, Irion, Jim Hogg, Culberson and Polk — list a combined 52,298 registered voters. But the latest U.S. Census data show only 49,457 voting-age residents in those counties.
County officials told Watchdog.org they are reviewing their voter lists in response to TTV’s threat of legal action.
Mary Slavin, deputy clerk of rural Roberts County, said she was perplexed by the findings. “We’re a small county. When someone dies, I know it as quick as the family knows, and remove that person (from the voter rolls) as soon as I can,” she said.
TTV spokesman Logan Churchwell said some of the bloating of voter rolls could be due to simple clerical errors. “Duplicate registrations occur when there are slight differences in names — such as ‘McDougle’ versus ‘Mc Dougle,’” he noted.
Churchwell also blames “imperfect” federal law for inflating voter rolls. For example, voters who skip two election cycles over four years remain on active status, as long as verification letters sent by election offices do not bounce back. The law assumes the registration is still valid, without positive verification. Churchwell said the recent nullification of Texas’ photo ID law opens the door for mischief on Election Day.
True the Vote has given the counties 90 days to produce correct registration data or face legal action.
The Democratic Party, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and other “progressive” groups have countered TTV’s efforts.