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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Daisy Ridley Claps Back at Ted Cruz After He Subtly Insulted Her ‘Star Wars’ Character

Entertainment

Daisy Ridley Claps Back at Ted Cruz After He Subtly Insulted Her ‘Star Wars’ Character

Photos via Getty Images

It seems like Ted Cruz can’t stay away from the spotlight. On the heels of a very public* scandal, Cruz is now drumming up some more controversy for himself. But now he’s inserting himself into some pre-existing drama.

This time, Rafael Cruz decided to share his opinion on a recent dispute in the Star Wars universe. Yes, you read that right.

Ted Cruz–who has had his fair share of celebrity feuds— decided to pick a fight with Star Wars actress, Daisy Ridley.

The drama started when Cruz tweeted about the ongoing conflict between Disney and “The Mandalorian” actress, Gina Carano.

As background, Disney fired Carano from the hit show after she shared various controversial, far-right opinions on social media. Her posts included anti-mask rhetoric, Q-Anon conspiracies, and promoting false election fraud rumors. Oh, and she also compared being a conservative in Hollywood to being a Jew in Nazi Germany.

Since Carano’s firing, many conservative figures have publicly come to her defense. One of them being Ted Cruz.

Recently, Rafael tweeted out: “Texan Gina Carano broke barriers in the Star Wars universe: not a princess, not a victim, not some emotionally tortured Jedi. She played a woman who kicked ass & who girls looked up to. She was instrumental in making Star Wars fun again. Of course Disney canceled her.”

For those who aren’t well versed in the Star Wars universe, Cruz’s tweet seemed to be throwing subtle shade at the character of Rey–a female Jedi in the most recent Star Wars trilogy. Sure, you could call Rey “emotionally tortured”…or you could call her a normal person who expresses normal feelings. *Shrug*

Anyway, Daisy Ridley–the actress who played Rey–soon caught wind of the diss when an interviewer brought it to her attention.

The interviewer than asked if Ridley had any response to her character being classified as an “emotionally tortured Jedi”.At first, Ridley seemed visibly surprised that Cruz shaded her character. But she quickly regained her composure–as well as her wit.

“I am very happy to be an emotionally tortured Jedi who doesn’t leave their state when it’s having a terrible time,” she quipped.

Looks like Cruz had to learn the hard way not to mess with the Force.

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A Ted Cruz Piñata Exists And People Want One So Bad

Culture

A Ted Cruz Piñata Exists And People Want One So Bad

Sen. Ted Cruz has reached peak infamy with a piñata in his honor. People have been turned into piñatas over the years for both good and bad reasons. The Cruz piñata serves as a reminder of the senator’s attempt to flee the brutal Texas winter crisis.

A Texas party store is selling piñatas of Sen. Ted Cruz and people are into it.

Piñatas are always the centerpiece of a fun party and they are even more exciting when they are topical. One party shop in Texas is riding on the wave of local and national news criticizing Sen. Cruz to cash in.

Last week Sen. Cruz was caught boarding a United flight to Cancún, Mexico to escape the winter storm devastating Texas. As millions of Texans survived without water and power, the Cruz family booked a Mexican getaway to warmer weather and reliable electricity.

At first, Sen. Cruz tried to blame his daughters for fleeing Texas as his constituents suffered from the weather. He soon changed his story and claimed that he realized he had made a mistake as soon as he sat down on the plane waiting to depart from Houston.

Finally, after days of speculation, someone came forward and leaked text messages from Sen. Cruz’s wife, Heidi. Turns out, according to the texts, that the Cruz family was actively planning a vacation to avoid the snowstorm. According to the texts, the Cruz family was trying to convince neighbors and friends to join them so they can get out of their freezing house. The criticism amplified when it was reported that the Cruz family left the family dog behind as they fled to Mexico.

People are eager to get their hands on a Sen. Cruz piñata.

Families have been in quarantine for almost a year and they are hitting a wall. Now that the weather is starting to warm up, it is no surprise that people would want to have something to do together outdoors. Seems that a lot of people would like a piñata party to celebrate the bad weather slowly moving out.

There are even some people asking for different people made as piñatas.

You never know unless you ask, right? Never hurts to try to make your own request to better your birthday. It seems that the party store is able to make various different piñatas. The party store made a piñata after Sen. Bernie Sanders’ famous mitten moment at President Biden’s inauguration.

READ: Sen. Ted Cruz Makes Quick U-Turn From Mexico After Outrage He Abandoned His Frozen Texas

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