It Can't Be Whitley For Secretary Of State - #PurgeWhitley

When the news came late last month that the Secretary of State’s office had flagged tens of thousands of voters for a citizenship check, a process that has since been laid bare as being utterly flawed in every significant way, some elected officials quickly pounced on the idea that voter fraud was afoot. The “rampant” kind.

What so many knew then holds true now — There is no reason to believe voters of the rampantly fraudulent variety are in our midst, stealing our elections. On the contrary…it has since been learned that thousands of voters, rightful citizens, shouldn’t even be on those lists.

And as some counties work to rectify this mess, it is confusion and frustration among Texas voters over such a display of ineptitude that is running rampant. Rightly so.

The National Voter Registration Act mandates that election officials update the voter rolls regularly.
It’s generally understood that an updating of the rolls reflects the changes of when people move, pass on, or become otherwise ineligible for a period of time.

But this process - which has picked up considerably in the wake of the gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 - is sometimes misapplied, prone to error and poor execution when proper safeguards aren’t taken. It removes or risks removing eligible voters. And we have David Whitley here to prove the point.

The Secretary of State’s office knew there was “significant possibility” that naturalized citizens could be on Whitley’s list of voters flagged for these checks. This apparently did not stop him from blasting that list out on a Friday afternoon, referring that list to the Attorney General’s office ahead of any counties, and paving the way for gems like this:

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And later this…..

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This wasn’t just no harm, no foul/mindless administrative mishap either. Notices to voters in Galveston County went out in the mail asking them to verify status. Then, secondary letters went out telling them to disregard.

While the initial release of the list had been loud, the walk-back of its sheer flimsiness was much softer.

Nevertheless, this did not stop Whitley from defending the release of data he knew to be flawed when he spoke in his hearing before the Senate Nominations Committee. Most notably, he would not define voter suppression because he thought it “irrelevant.”

The Secretary of State presides over our elections and is meant to preserve their integrity. He apparently won’t or can’t define voter suppression.

And now, we come to the part where Whitley has issued a letter of apology of sorts to members of the Nominations Committee wherein there is no actual apology for the act of undermining and suppressing voters.

But the damage is done. As it was on that Friday eve, when he first sent out his release, less than a full month into the new year, following a historic midterm voter turnout for Texas.

The grotesque design of the Old Tale Of Voter Fraud is that it pretty much never has to be true. It just has to be incendiary enough to spark bad policy.

The good news, and there is some, is that more and more voters are getting up to speed on this. We’ve read the playbook. It’s trash.

David Whitley’s actions are not a series of unfortunate missteps that we should all excuse as the markings of one finding their footing in a new position.

These decisions come at too high a cost to voters in a state with a lackluster track record for cultivating a strong culture of voting. A record that the people, organizations and volunteers all work tirelessly to course correct.
In how many more ways will top state officials make it clear that they are not fighting for voters so much as they’re fighting to maintain a broken status quo?

For all these reasons, and for the Texas voters who are rightful citizens and proud to cast their ballots, David Whitley’s nomination for Secretary of State should fall to the same heap where that old playbook should lie.