Voter roll purge could affect thousands in Houston, mayor warns

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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged Harris County's chief election officer Monday not to give in to demands from Austin.

Tens of thousands of Houston voters could be purged from Harris County voter rolls after Texas officials accused them of being in the country illegally.

The Texas Secretary of State's Office said it has identified about 95,000 potential non-citizens registered to vote in the state, including 58,000 who have cast ballots in previous elections.

But while Secretary David Whitley warns the integrity of Texas elections are in doubt without accurate voter rolls, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner urged Harris County's chief election officer Monday not to give in to demands from Austin.

READ THE MAYOR'S LETTER


In a letter to Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Ann Harris Bennett, Mayor Turner said the votes of thousands of people who have become U.S. citizens in the last 23 years could be wrongfully supressed because of inaccurate and incomplete data contained in the state's list.

Thirty thousand names were supplied to the county, but 60 percent of the names have since been removed due to errors by the secretary of state's office, Turner said.

"State officials have already had to acknowledge widespread errors in their initial list of 95,000 names," Turner writes. "There's no reason to have faith in this manifestly slapdash process."

Turner also warned Houston residents are being asked "to prove their own innocence, and will have a constitutional right taken away if they don't comply within a short time frame."

The authority to remove voters from Texas voter registration rolls rests with officials in each individual Texas county.

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