Texas Seeking Federal Records
Texas is joining Florida and several other states in requesting the federal government's database of immigration records to help the state clear illegal voters off its rolls. The Texas Secretary of State's office sent a letter this week to the Department of Homeland Security asking for access to SAVE, or the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements. "We can use that as a tool, when necessary, to verify citizenship as it relates to the voter registration process," says Rich Johnson with the Secretary of State's Office.
The state argues this is necessary to update the voter rolls and curb fraud at the ballot box, but groups like the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) do not agree. LULAC general counsel Luis Vera tells KTRH these databases will be used for profiling of Hispanics. "They're gonna specifically look at Spanish surnamed voters, they're not gonna be looking at anyone else...that's all they can do." But Curtis Collier with the group U.S. Border Watch supports the state's efforts and says the data will not be applied by racial or ethnic guidelines. "They're looking for people who haven't voted in two continuous elections, people who don't match the addresses on their driver's license, things of that nature," he says. "So I don't think it's discriminatory at all."
Opponents of the state's actions, similarly to the controversial Voter ID law, argue that it's a solution without a problem. "There's actually no evidence whatsoever to prove that there is any significant amount of undocumented aliens who have registered to vote," Vera argues. Collier, just as state officials have claimed, says voter fraud is a real problem in Texas. "We just had a recent report that people were voting who were actually killed in World War II, so the voting rolls certainly need to be cleaned up."