The Texas Democratic Party is coming under scrutiny after they apparently sent out voter registration documents to residents — including non-citizens — with the citizenship box pre-marked with a “yes.”
The allegation comes via a report from the Public Interest Legal Foundation, made public on Thursday.
“(T)he Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today alerted local, state, and federal law enforcement to campaign mailers directed at noncitizens in south Texas which encouraged voter registration via altered forms indicating they were U.S. citizens,” a statement from the organization read.
“Texas Democrat Party mailers circulated around the Rio Grande Valley region of south Texas landed in the hands of lawfully present noncitizens in late September and early October. The envelopes contained voter registration applications where the answers to questions ‘Are you a United States Citizen?’ and ‘Will you be 18 years of age on or before election day?’ were pre-printed ‘Yes’ for each.”
According to The Washington Times, the mailers also encouraged voters who were unsure to “Mail it in.”
The letters came with “Urgent! Your voter registration deadline is October 9″ written on the front. Inside, it read, “Your voter registration application is inside. Complete, sign and return it today!”
While the letters were pre-addressed to go to elections authorities, the mailers were actually from the State Democratic Executive Committee.
“Noncitizens usually register to vote at the prompting of another party — usually a DMV clerk,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said in a statement.
“Today, we are raising awareness to how the Texas Democrat Party — unintentionally or otherwise — is offering voter registration to noncitizens. Without some form of official intervention, confused noncitizens rather than the Texas Dems will end up paying the consequences of this matter.”
“This is how the Texas Democratic Party is inviting foreign influence in an election in a federal election cycle,” Logan Churchwell, a spokesman for PILF, said in a statement.
The case has been forwarded to both local district attorneys and the Department of Justice on the national level to see if there are any charges to be filed.
PILF is a special-interest organization — it’s become well-known for cases involving voter rolls — but comments from state officials seemed to indicate that the mailers were indeed real.
“Sam Taylor, spokesman for Texas’s secretary of state, said they heard from people whose relatives were receiving mail despite having passed away 10 years ago or longer. One woman said her child, who’d been dead 19 years, got a mailing asking to register,” The Times reported.
Perhaps most unnervingly, Texas officials say they can’t figure out whether something was pre-checked or not when it reaches them.
“It looks like a case of really bad information they are using to send out these mailers,” Taylor told The Times. He added that the state had received numerous calls from non-citizens asking if some change had made them eligible to vote.
The ballot in question came from David C. Kifuri Jr., who said “several relatives” of his who are in the country legally but who aren’t citizens received the mailers.
“The victims will actually be the non-citizens,” Churchwell said, explaining that they’re going to be the ones who get in trouble — potentially of the legal variety — if they send in the voter registration cards.
As for whether the Democratic Party will get in trouble over this mess, Taylor says that while it is a crime to encourage voters to falsify a voter application, it would be at the discretion of law enforcement whether or not charges were warranted over the pre-checked boxes.
However, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned the state was taking the matter very seriously.
“If true there will be serious consequences,” Abbott told The Times.
Let’s hope there are, lest some other state party be convinced to undertake a similar stunt.
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