President Donald Trump sent out a tweet on January 27 claiming that 58,000 noncitizens voted in Texas with 95,000 noncitizens registered to vote.
Is there evidence of voter fraud in Texas?
In Trump’s tweet, he mentioned voter fraud as being “rampant” all over the country and said Texas’ numbers are “just the tip of the iceberg.”
58,000 non-citizens voted in Texas, with 95,000 non-citizens registered to vote. These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. All over the country, especially in California, voter fraud is rampant. Must be stopped. Strong voter ID! @foxandfriends
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 27, 2019
According to a previous announcement made by the Texas Secretary of State’s office, this claim is misinformation. On January 25, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley said it would send a list of 95,000 registered voters to local election officials. This letter was sent to ensure qualified voters are registered to vote in the state of Texas.
However, it was discovered that 58,000 out of those 95,000 individuals identified by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) as noncitizens have voted in one or more elections between 1996 and 2018.
Whitley issued this statement immediately following receipt of this information:
“Integrity and efficiency of elections in Texas require accuracy of our state’s voter rolls, and my office is committed to using all available tools under the law to maintain an accurate list of registered voters. Our agency has provided extensive training opportunities to county voter registrars so that they can properly perform list maintenance activities in accordance with federal and state law, which affords every registered voter the chance to submit proof of eligibility. I would like to thank the Department of Public Safety for providing us with this valuable information so that we can continue to guarantee the right to vote for all eligible Texas voters, who should not have their voices muted by those who abuse the system.”
According to Politifact, the state’s list is not the de facto determinant for catching illegal voters. It is actually the job of county officials to investigate more information and determine the status of a voter’s citizenship; the state’s list classified its findings as “WEAK matches.”
However, this can be difficult because of problems with the data. State data does not account for the people who became naturalized citizens after acquiring a driver’s license, so it is possible that legal immigrants can inaccurately match.
There is evidence of some cases of noncitizens voting illegally, but it is extremely rare, according to Politifact.
The Heritage Foundation discovered that only four noncitizens had been convicted in Texas of illegal voting. Recently, in November 2018, a Texas woman who was a legal permanent resident was sentenced to eight years in prison for voting illegally.
In addition, numerous voting experts confirm that voting fraud in Texas is highly unlikely.
“They are using old, outdated information to make really stark assumptions,” Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt told USA Today. “That means they aren’t sure that people matched from one list to the other one are the same people.”
“We really know very little at this point,” state voter registrar Bruce Elfant told Politifact. “Those who weighed in alleging voter fraud, I would say it is premature and irresponsible. … This is going to be long and complicated.”
Fact or Fiction?
Trump’s claim that 58,000 noncitizens voted in Texas, with 95,000 noncitizens registered to vote, is false based on what was reported early on by Texas.
It was discovered that 58,000 out of those 95,000 individuals identified by the DPS as noncitizens have voted in one or more elections between 1996 and 2018. However, the state data is outdated and does not account for the people who became naturalized citizens after acquiring a driver’s license.
Cases of noncitizens voting illegally Texas are extremely rare. According to USA Today, the Heritage Foundation reported that there were fewer than a dozen convictions between 2000 and 2015 nationwide. Experts also confirm that voter fraud is highly unlikely despite inaccurate data.