Things That Matter

Texas Officials Attempt To Purge Voters From Rolls But Get Sued Over Claims Of Voter Suppression

When Texas Secretary of State David Whitely made inflammatory claims of voted fraud, there was already suspicion from the get-go. Whitley and Attorney General Ken Paxton notified county election officials on Jan. 25 that they suspected there were 95,000 noncitizens on their voting rolls, 58,000 of whom appeared to have voted in one or more elections since 1996. But the accusations were met with criticism and a bevy of lawsuits claiming “voter suppression,” particularly against Latinos. Texas officials have since conceded that at least 20,000 of the registered voters flagged as potential noncitizens actually had their citizenship verified.

Texas officials had to qucikly walkback an attempt to revoke voting rights from thousands of citizens.

The problem with Whitley’s claims are that the list was made through state records going back to 1996. It shows which Texas residents weren’t citizens when they got a driver’s license or other state ID. This means people who may have had green cards or work visas at the time they got a Texas ID are on the secretary of state’s office’s list, and many have become citizens since then.

After news that the numbers in the list of “flagged voters” was inaccurate, Whitley began warning counties across Texas to double-check voters citizenship. This led to several counties removing more than 20,000 names of people who registered with the Department of Public Safety. Estimates show about 1 million foreign-born Texans have become naturalized since 1996 with a majority of the state’s immigrant population born in Latin America. In the days since, county election officials are investigating the names listed further and suspect there may be more eligible voters, including naturalized citizens, on the list.

Voting rights organizations are suing with claims that Whitley’s investigation is another attempt of silencing the Latino vote.

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is among a handful of organizations that have filed a lawsuit against Whitley and Director of Elections Keith Ingram for the creation and rollout of what they are calling a “flawed voter purge list that discriminates against naturalized citizens.”

Luis Roberto Vera, national general counsel for LULAC, says the Secretary of State’s claim of voter fraud is irresponsible on many levels. He says the investigation was pulled out for one primary reason: to suppress the Latino vote.

“This was done to intimate Latinos nothing more than that because the truth of the matter is those numbers are very misleading,” Vera said. “We’re the easiest people to target in the state of Texas especially after this previous election.”

Vera points out that last November’s midterm elections saw the traditionally Republican state of Texas vote Democratic in various counties. There was surge in turnout across the state that saw a narrow victory for Republican Sen. Ted Cruz who won by a slim margin of victory of 2.7 percentage points. The rise in numbers could be attributed to the campaign former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke and the longstanding efforts of voting rights groups to encourage the Latino vote. According to the Huffington Post, Almost 78 percent of the 95,000 suspected noncitizen voters identified live in counties that voted Democrat in the 2018 midterm election.

The call of voter fraud is nothing new in the U.S. but rarely do the numbers show it’s a rampant growing issue.

What’s going on in Texas is nothing new as claims of voter fraud have been heard throughout the country for many years. Back in 2012, Florida officials put together a list of about 180,000 possible noncitizens. Shortly after it was cut down to about 2,600 names to only be verified and shortened to about 85 voters who were ultimately removed from the polls.

Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez, founder and executive director of Jolt Initiative, a Latino voting rights group in Texas, says the moment she saw the voting fraud report she knew it was wrong. Ramirez says the state has made various efforts to make it harder for Latinos to vote which includes redistricting and strict voter I.D. laws.

“They [Texas] fear losing control and not having power. Instead of having power with their ideas they are using it to try and make it harder for us to vote,” Ramirez said. “Texas came within 2 points of turning blue and the thought of that for many in power here scares them.”

Ramirez points out that this shift in demographics in Texas is happening quickly not just in voting numbers but the growing population in the state overall. She says in Texas half of those turning 18 are Latino and state officials are casting a wide net on a whole racial group by doing releasing this false information.

“This info is dubious and it’s an attempt to stop eligible voters from voting,” she said. “In Texas, we have a low turnout and they are attempting to make sure the number of people who don’t vote particularity, Latino and Asians, stay that way.”

While the claims of voter fraud may have been exaggerated, they still have an effect on the perception of voting altogether.

While Texas Gov. Greg Abbott did call the investigation “a work in process,” the facts show that this is just another case of a failed process. Within hours of Whitley’s calls of voter fraud, the news grabbed headlines and even President Donald Trump weighed in on the claims. All this happened without any verification that Whitley’s unverified information was true, or in this case widely exaggerated.

Vera says this practice needs to be prevented from happening as unverified claims of voter fraud still make an impression in the public eye that is hard to fix. He says President Trump’s false claims in 2016 that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally became an issue after he spoke up. Even after his claims were proven false, Republicans in Iowa, New Hampshire, and North Carolina took action to prevent voter fraud from happening in their respective states.

“The email sent out made a big splash in the media and pushed this idea that there is a rampant voting issue happening in our country which could be further from the truth,” Vera said. “They did this to try and intimidate us but they failed again.”


READ: New York Passes The Dream Act Giving Students, Regardless Of Immigration Status, Access To Tuition Aid

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As Trump Does All He Can To Sabotage Mail-In Voting, He And Melania Request Mail-In Ballots

Things That Matter

As Trump Does All He Can To Sabotage Mail-In Voting, He And Melania Request Mail-In Ballots

Win McNamee / Getty Images

Trump has never done much to conceal his blatant hypocrisy. But this is shocking even for him. In recent weeks, the president has been on a crusade against mail-in voting, spelling out doomsday scenarios of “vote rigging” and of widespread fraud and illegal voting my undocumented residents – despite study after study showing this just isn’t true.

Now, Trump has poked holes in his own campaign by requesting mail-in ballots for himself and Melania for the upcoming primary election in Florida.

Trump has all but admitted he is working to sabotage the Postal Service in the run up to November’s elections.

Mail-in voting has been front-and-center in recent weeks as fears of the Coronavirus have forced states to make the voting process easier so residents can avoid going to polling centers where infection can potentially spread. However, at the same time, Trump and other Republicans have railed against the option, baselessly asserting that it will lead to voter fraud.

In an interview, Trump said the quiet part out loud, admitting he’s intentionally withholding money from the U.S. Postal Service to undermine its ability to handle mail-in voting in the 2020 election.

“They need that money in order to make the Post Office work so it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots,” Trump said on Fox Business, speaking about the states that are implementing universal mail-in voting ahead of the November election. “But if they don’t get those two items, that means you can’t have universal mail-in voting, because they’re not equipped to have it.”

Despite his claims, experts agree there is no widespread voter fraud in US elections, and nonpartisan experts say neither party automatically benefits when states expand access to mail-in voting.

Reports have circulated of mail boxes being taken out of cities and drivers being told to stop working.

Trump recently installed a major supporter, Louis DeJoy, as the new Postmaster General. Since DeJoy took control of the USPS, mail has been slowed down considerably in at least 19 states, an alarming sign heading into the election. DeJoy’s new operational changes have included overhauling the service’s senior leadership and directing carriers to leave on time — even if the mail hasn’t been loaded —immediately in the morning, resulting in them only delivering packages and letters sorted the prior night, according to Reuters.

There have also been reports of iconic blue USPS mailboxes being removed from city streets and giant sorting machines being taken out of busy post offices. These changes will result in widespread delays in ballot delivery that could disenfranchise millions of people, lead to widespread chaos, and potentially swing a close election.

Meanwhile, the president and First Lady have both requested mail-in ballots.

Although the president has repeatedly attacked mail-in voting over the past few weeks, he and the First Lady both requested mail-in ballots for the upcoming Florida primary. The records from the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections website show the ballots were mailed Wednesday to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, which he made his permanent residence last year.

And although Trump seems to be campaigning against mail-in voting, he recently claimed that Florida’s voting system is secure, tweeting earlier this month: “Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True. Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail.”

Many speculate that he’s OK with mail-in voting in Florida because it’s controlled by a friendly Republican governor and if things don’t go his way, he can count on that support. But this mixed messaging is giving his opponents (supporters of mail-in voting) further evidence that his opposition to it is purely political.

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A University Is Releasing A Historic Mexican Cookbook Filled With Recipes You’d Want To Try

Culture

A University Is Releasing A Historic Mexican Cookbook Filled With Recipes You’d Want To Try

UTSA

The University of Texas San Antonio is bringing the history of Mexico into our kitchens. The university is releasing cookbooks that are collections of historic Mexican recipes. Right now, the desserts book is out and online for free. Main dishes and appetizers/drinks are coming soon.

You can now taste historic Mexico thanks to the University of Texas San Antonio.

UTSA has had an ongoing project of preserving, collecting, and digitizing cookbooks from throughout Mexico’s history. Some books date back to the 1700s and offer a look into Mexico’s culinary arts and its evolution.

UTSA has been digitizing Mexican cookbooks for years and the work is now being collected for people in the time of Covid.

Millions of us are still at home and projects like these can be very exciting and exactly what you need. The recipes are a way to distract yourself from the current reality.

“The e-pubs allow home cooks to use the recipes as inspiration in their own kitchens,” Dean Hendrix, the dean of UTSA Libraries, said in UTSA Today. “Our hope is that many more people will not only have access to these wonderful recipes but also interact with them and experience the rich culture and history contained in the collection.”

The free downloads are a way for people to get a very in-depth look into Mexican food history.

The first of three volumes of the cookbooks focuses on desserts so you can learn how to make churros, chestnut flan, buñelos, and rice pudding. What better way to spend your quarantine than learning how to make some of these yummy desserts. We all love sweets, right?

If you want to get better with making your favorite desserts, check out this cookbook and make it happen.

There is nothing better than diving into your history and using food as your guide. Food is so intrinsically engrained in our DNAs and identities. We love the foods and sweets from our childhood because they hold a clue as to who we are and where we come from. This historical collection of recipes throughout history is the perfect way to make that happen.

READ: The Laziest Food Hacks In All Of The Land Would Send Your Abuela To The Chancla

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