AUSTIN – Attorney General Ken Paxton today issued the following statement after the Secretary of State’s office discovered that about 95,000 individuals identified by the Department of Public Safety as non-U.S. citizens have a matching voter registration record in Texas, and roughly 58,000 of them have voted in one or more Texas elections:
“Every single instance of illegal voting threatens democracy in our state and deprives individual Texans of their voice. We’re honored to have partnered with the Texas Secretary of State’s office in the past on voter initiatives and we will spare no effort in assisting with these troubling cases. My Election Fraud Unit stands ready to investigate and prosecute crimes against the democratic process when needed. We have obtained a number of successful non-citizen voter fraud convictions, including prison sentences for Rosa Ortega in Tarrant County and Laura Garza in Montgomery County. And earlier this month, investigators from our office arrested Marites Curry, a non-citizen charged with illegal voting in Navarro County. Nothing is more vital to preserving our Constitution than the integrity of our voting process, and my office will do everything within its abilities to solidify trust in every election in the state of Texas. I applaud Secretary of State Whitley for his proactive work in safeguarding our elections.”
Texas law allows lawfully present noncitizens to obtain driver’s licenses by showing proof of lawful presence to DPS. However, only citizens are eligible to vote. And Texas law currently does not require verification of a voter’s statement that they are a citizen. The Texas Secretary of State provided the information to the Office of the Attorney General this week, which has concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute election crimes.
From 2005-2017, the attorney general’s office prosecuted 97 defendants for numerous voter fraud violations. In 2018, Attorney General Paxton’s Election Fraud Unit – with assistance from a criminal justice grant from the governor’s office – prosecuted 33 defendants for a total of 97 election fraud violations. Last February, the attorney general announced a significant voter fraud initiative and addressed key problems and policy areas related to election law.