In his confirmation hearing today (Thursday), Secretary of State David Whitley defended his office’s decision to question the citizenship of 95K registered voters knowing the data was likely flawed. Counties were supplied lists of registered voters flagged using Dept. of Public Safety data, but those lists did not account for individuals who had become citizens since first obtaining a driver license or personal identification card from DPS. The lists also erroneously included citizens who had registered to vote at a DPS office when obtaining their license or PIC.

Whitley faced the toughest questions from the Nominations Committee’s three Democrats. “There seems to be a lack of due diligence,” said Sen. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston), adding that she felt Whitley either did not check his work or “intentionally allowed information that was inaccurate to go out.”

Whitley said the investigation is a process, and he was required by law to alert law enforcement and county registrars that non-citizens had potentially registered to vote. “My office has no investigative authority,” Whitley said. “That’s why it is important to get the data to the counties to do that investigation.”

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