The man who is in charge of Texas elections today defended the very controversial release of a list alleging to include the names of some 95,000 potential non citizen voters, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The list contains people who indicated they were not U.S. citizens when they obtained the documentation, usually a driver's license, that they later used to vote. Some 56,000 of those people, including 5100 in Bexar County, did in fact cast ballots in at least one Texas election between 2008 and 2016.
State elections Director Keith Ingram told a State House Committee this is a relatively routine procedure, and part of maintaining the voting rolls.
"The only thing that is different about this is it is a large data set because its the first time we've done it, and it's obviously politically sensitive," Ingram said.
'Politically sensitive' is an understatement. Several groups charged the Secretary of State with attempting to 'purge' Democrats from the voting rolls. Many immigrant rights groups pointed out that there is no documentation on the list about whether the individuals became U.S. citizens between the time they obtained the documents and when they cast their ballots, which is likely. Even President Trump tweeted that the list proves that 'illegal immigrants are voting in large numbers.'
Under questioning, Ingram said he realized when the list was released that there was a 'significant possibility' that it contained the names of many naturalized U.S. citizens.
There have been calls for the Secretary of State to withdraw the list, and there have even been calls for the Secretary of State's resignation.
But Ingram defended the list.
"We give the best data that we can to the counties, and they use the best information that they can to whittle the list down," he said. "That is the way list maintenance works in every area."
At least two lawsuits have been filed against the list, by groups which claim it violates the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection, because it requires naturalized U.S. citizens to take additional steps to prove their right to vote that natural born citizens don't have to take.