More Republican lies about voter fraud were exposed, this time deep in the heart of Texas.
On Wednesday, a federal judge lambasted Republican officials in Texas for abusing their power to push a patently false narrative of widespread voter fraud across the state. The court went a step further, blocking state officials from removing anyone from the voter rolls without express permission from the court because of the reprehensible conduct of GOP officials.
In the four-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Fred Biery called out the Republican officials for "ham-handed and threatening correspondence" questioning the citizenship of tens of thousands of people. The court found Texas officials abused the "power of government to strike fear and anxiety and to intimidate the least powerful among us."
The lawsuit began after Texas Secretary of State David Whitley, appointed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, outrageously claimed that 95,000 people in Texas were registered to vote despite not being citizens, and that 58,000 of those Texans had fraudulently voted in at least one election. Ken Paxton, the state's Republican attorney general, even declared a "VOTER FRAUD ALERT" on Twitter. Abbott, well known for fear-mongering about supposed voter fraud, praised his appointee for "uncovering and investigating this illegal vote registration."
Trump, unsurprisingly, has been touting the supposed "voter fraud" and even further exaggerating the numbers.
But the court found that based on all available evidence, "there is no widespread voter fraud" happening in the state. The judge chastised Republican officials, reminding them that soon after officials released the list of names, "the government had an 'oops' moment, realizing that 25,000 names should not have been included."
"It appears this is a solution looking for a problem," the ruling notes.
Republicans have a long history of pretending voter fraud is a widespread problem. State legislators often use the guise of made-up voter fraud claims to pass legislation aimed at voter suppression. Republican efforts normally target young people and people of color, setting up unfair and unconstitutional barriers preventing certain segments of the population from exercising the most fundamental right in a democracy: voting.
In North Carolina, one federal court found Republicans passed a law to "target African Americans with almost surgical precision."
While in-person voter fraud almost never happens, election fraud can and does. Just last week, an elections board in North Carolina unanimously voted to hold a new election in the 9th Congressional District, because the evidence that Republican Mark Harris' campaign illegally collected and even filled in ballots was so overwhelming that Harris could not be certified the winner.
In Texas, the federal court determined that the secretary of state "created this mess" and ordered the state to stop purging its voter rolls of Texans who are, in fact, citizens.
The judge concluded by quoting from Robert Fulghum's "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," essentially ordering Republican officials to "always put things back where we found them and clean up our own messes."
While the officials who "created this mess" will now have to clean it up, the court's finding is unlikely to stop Republicans from continuing to spread lies about the supposed "voter fraud" that simply does not exist while ignoring the very real example of Republican election fraud in North Carolina.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.