Texas Secretary of State Resigns After Wrongfully Questioning Citizenship of Nearly 100,000 Voters, Takes Post in Governor’s Office
After the Texas Secretary of State’s office sought to purge more than 100,000 names from the voter rolls based on citizenship, the acting Secretary, David Whitley, resigned. The resignation came just days before a deadline for the Texas Senate to either confirm him or oust him by failing to confirm him. All 12 Democratic Senators had sought to block Whitley’s confirmation.
Whitley initially claimed that his office had found thousands of voters who needed to be removed from voter rolls due to citizenship concerns. His office passed these names on to local election officials to review and purge. A few days later, however, the office retracted its list of voters, finding that the list contained the names of many citizens. Whitley blamed the mistaken actions on office staff’s failure to properly vet the information that they were receiving.
Meanwhile, a federal judge in Texas referred to the review as “a mess.” As a result, that judge ordered the purge of voter rolls to stop. Ultimately, the lawsuits concerning the matter settled, with the Secretary of State’s office agreeing to pay $450,000 in costs and attorney’s fees.
Despite the apparent missteps, Governor Greg Abbott announced within a few days of the resignation that he would rehire Whitley as a special advisor to work in his office. Whitley now will make more than $200,000, following the slightly lower salary that he received as acting Secretary of State, which was $64,000 higher than his predecessor.
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