Texas County Failed To Give Any Contact Info In Voter Purge Notices

EL PASO, EL PASO - NOVEMBER 06: Voters line up outside the polling place at Fire Station Number 2 on Election Day November 06, 2018 in El Paso, Texas. In Texas, Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) is in a surprisingly tight co... EL PASO, EL PASO - NOVEMBER 06: Voters line up outside the polling place at Fire Station Number 2 on Election Day November 06, 2018 in El Paso, Texas. In Texas, Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) is in a surprisingly tight contest against incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for one of the state's U.S. Senate seats. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 11, 2019 1:18 pm
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The confusion and chaos caused by Texas’ bombastic voter fraud allegations has manifested in almost every element of the fallout.

The latest example is a voter purge notice sent out by one Texas county that lacked basic contact information or even an official letterhead.

The notice left one citizen mistakenly flagged by the stake feeling “very worried” and a “sense of fear,” according to court documents filed Monday.

The episode is one of many that have prompted civil rights groups to sue Texas over a list released last month purporting to show that tens of thousands of noncitizens were illegally registered to vote. The list went out with instructions that local election officials purge from the rolls any individuals who don’t respond to notices seeking confirmation of their citizenship.

In Wood County, those notices went out with the space left blank where the phone number of the local elections office should have been. The notices also lacked the response form the recipients were asked to use to reply, and there was no letterhead on the notices.

A woman in the court docs known as “Jane Doe #2” — who received the notice despite being naturalized in March 2018 and voting legally in that year — recounted in a declaration her frustration and her “sense of fear,” given that she could not tell if the letter was fake or real.

“I questioned whether I had done something wrong, or if somebody was trying to prank me.” Jane Doe #2 wrote in the declaration.  “I did not know where to go or who to cal to receive answers to my questions.”

She first tried to call the county clerk’s office, where the staff member who answered her call said the letter might be fake and that the person whose name was on the notice didn’t work for the county clerk, according to Jane Doe #2’s statement. She finally got in touch with the county elections administrator, Lisa Wise, who explained that the notices had been sent out without the contact information by mistake. Jane Doe #2 eventually traveled to meet Wise in person and showed Wise a copy of her naturalization certificate.

Wise told TPM that the lack of contact information in the notices was an “honest mistake” and that the county has decided to not remove anyone from its voter lists while it awaits further instructions from the state. Two other people in Wood County came to her office and showed that they were legal voters, Wise said.

According to the court filings, 11 Wood County voters in total were flagged by the state on its controversial list, which purported to show that 95,000 noncitizens were potentially illegally registered and that 58,000 may have voted. President Trump was quick to jump on — and mischaracterize — those numbers.

Monday’s filings were in a lawsuit brought against Texas by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. It was one of three federal lawsuits that have been brought in reaction to the list.

Wood County is not the only county to have sent out notices based on the the list. Smith County also sent out the notices, but only after election officials checked to see if they could themselves confirm that any of the people flagged were actually citizens, according to the filing. Travis County is following a similar process, according to the MALDEF court filings. Meanwhile, in Galveston County, followed up their notices with retraction letters to some of the individuals initially flagged, as the county worked with the state to narrow its list, according to the filings.

“As a result of these arbitrary and disparate standards, Plaintiffs are being treated differently depending on the county in which they reside,” the lawsuit said.

Read the court filings, including Jane Doe #2’s declaration, below:

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