Classified emails show Texas Governor’s office involved in voter purge program (Updated)

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The San Antonio Express News reported Tuesday that Gov. Greg Abbott’s office knew about the attempted purge of 95,000 Texas voters from the voter rolls earlier this year. The scandal rocked the state of Texas and made national headlines.

Ultimately, state officials had to admit wrongdoing, and the Secretary of State was forced to resign. Tens of thousands of eligible voters were caught up in the botched voter purge.

From the Express News: “In an August 2018 email from John Crawford, a top official of the driver’s license division at the Texas Department of Public Safety, to an employee, Crawford said DPS had run data of licensed drivers to compare to state voter rolls before, and ‘we have an urgent request from the governor’s office to do it again.’”

The League of United Latin Americans Citizens and the Campaign Legal Center, both of which filed the lawsuit against the purge activities, made the emails public Tuesday. The emails can be found here.

A spokesperson for the governor issued a statement late Tuesday.

“Neither the Governor, nor the Governor’s office gave a directive to initiate this process,” said John Wittman.

[Editor’s note: No one, that we’re aware of, is claiming the Governor or his office initiated the process. That’s not what the emails show.]

The emails show, at minimum, his office was kept in the loop about the purge process.

“CLC released these public documents received during litigation in the interest of transparency,” Danielle Lang, co-director of voting rights and redistricting at the Campaign Legal Center, told the Texas Signal. “One of the things these documents show is that as early as August 2018, the Governor’s office was prioritizing the botched voter purge program that ended with our settlement this spring.”

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