David Whitley Apologizes for "Confusion" Wrought by Voter Purge List

Three lawsuits later, Texas secretary of state basically says "whoops"


David Whitley (Photo by Jana Birchum)

In a letter to lawmakers, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley – facing major blowback after inaccurately suggesting 95,000 possible noncitizens are registered to vote – admitted that the Office of the SoS should have devoted more time to communicating with counties and the Texas Department of Public Safety to firm up its shoddy data before springing a "voter fraud" fiasco upon the state. Whitley says his goal was to "ensure that no qualified voters are removed from the rolls. I recognize this caused some confusion about our intentions. ... To the extent my actions missed that mark, I apologize." He stopped short of retracting the deeply flawed list, though, and still faces an uncertain future; the Senate Committee on Nominations, which grilled Whitley harshly last week, has yet to vote to send his name to the full Senate, where he will need more votes (21) than he likely has now to be confirmed in his new office. "Let's be clear: Our top election official isn't apologizing for actions that could have thrown thousands of eligible voters off the rolls, but rather for the way he bungled the release of his voter purge," writes the Texas Civil Rights Project, leading one of three lawsuits against Whitley, with its first hearing set for Feb. 22 in Galveston. Another lawsuit had its first day in federal court Tuesday in San Antonio.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

David Whitley, voter fraud fiasco, voter suppression, Texas Civil Rights Project, Texas Department of Public Safety

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