President Donald Trump tweeted misleading statistics about voter fraud on Sunday, claiming that nearly 60,000 non-citizens voted in Texas and that 95,000 non-citizens were registered to vote in the state.
“These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg," Trump wrote on Twitter. "All over the country, especially in California, voter fraud is rampant. Must be stopped. Strong voter ID!”
The tweet followed a segment on "Fox and Friends" about a report from Texas election officials on potential non-citizens who were registered to vote. But the show’s claims, and Trump’s, do not accurately reflect the findings announced by Texas authorities on Friday, and other news outlets also failed to report the full context of the immigrant voting situation in the state.
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A statement from Texas Director of Elections Keith Ingram to election administrators said the state’s Department of Public Safety had provided information about people who offered documentation to the department “showing that the person is not a citizen of the United States” when obtaining a driver’s license or personal identification card.
That data is being compared to voter registration rolls, the advisory from Ingram said.
Texas Secretary of State David Whitley issued a statement Friday saying his office had flagged about 95,000 potential noncitizens that “have a matching voter registration record in Texas,” 58,000 of whom have voted in one of more Texas elections since 1996.
"Integrity and efficiency of elections in Texas require accuracy of our state's voter rolls, and my office is committed to using all available tools under the law to maintain an accurate list of registered voters,” Whitley said in the statement.
The advisory from the director of elections tells voter registrars that records submitted through this process “will need to be treated as WEAK matches,” meaning the county may choose to investigate the voter “or take no action on the voter record if the voter registrar determines that there is no reason to believe the voter is ineligible.”
“Counties are not permitted, under current Texas law, to immediately cancel the voter as a result of any non-U.S. Citizen matching information provided,” the statement said, adding voters must first be provided with a letter asking them for proof of citizenship and given a month to respond. The voter then has to show proof of citizenship, including a U.S passport or certificate of naturalization.
Chris Davis, the head of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators, told the Tribune that without additional verification, one can’t say all of the individuals engaged in voter fraud.
"People get naturalized," he said. "It's entirely too early to say that."
About 15.8 million people are registered to vote in Texas.
Trump has repeatedly said that voter fraud is a significant problem. However, experts have repeatedly concluded that voter fraud is extremely rare.