SAN ANTONIO — The Texas Secretary of State and other leaders now have three lawsuits filed against them over a list of voters who have their citizenship under scrutiny.

  • Three lawsuits filed in federal court against Texas leaders
  • Each challenge how a list of about 95,000 voters was created
  • Voters face being purged from voter rolls within 30 days

The latest lawsuit was filed Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Texas, the Texas State Conference of NAACP Units, the Jolt Initiative and Move Texas Civic Fund. Defendants include Secretary of State David Whitley, Texas Director of Elections Keith Ingram and several county voter registrars.

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Monday's lawsuit joins one filed Friday by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, or MALDEF, as well as one filed January 29, 2019, by the League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC.

All three suits take issue with how Whitley's office built a list of voters he claimed might not be citizens.

"...Using the flawed methodology that uniquely targets naturalized citizens, he intends to provide Purge Lists to counties on a monthly basis, thus regularly subjecting naturalized citizens to voter registration requirements to which native-born citizens are not subject, and exposing them to a continuing and ongoing threat of being purged from the voter rolls," the ACLU lawsuit said.

Last month, Whitley's office sent a list of about 95,000 Texans his office said may have been illegally registered to vote. Then last Tuesday, his office advised voter registrars that some of the people on the list did not belong there.

The ACLU lawsuit quotes Travis County Voter Registrar Bruce Elfant recalling a phone call with state officials last week.

"During this call, the Secretary of State's office confirmed that the records we received may include voters who were not citizens at the time they applied for a driver's license but have since become citizens," he said in court documents.

Elfant told Spectrum News the state created its list using driver license and state ID records from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Forms ask applicants to check a box indicating whether or not they are a U.S. citizen. However, DPS does not track when non-citizens are naturalized.

Each lawsuit claim state leaders are questioning the voter rolls in order to purge legal voters.

The LULAC lawsuit is filed as a class action suit, allowing additional plaintiffs to join the case if they have standing. MALDEF's lawsuit lists several people who say they are wrongly on the lists released by the Secretary of State's Office.

State law requires voters who've been notified that their registrations are in question must show proof within 30 days, or they could have their voter registrations canceled. Federal judges are expected to hear the cases in the coming weeks.