Take the recent hullabaloo in Texas. On Jan. 25, the Texas secretary of state sent out a list of 95,000 registered voters who had reportedly been identified as noncitizens. The methodology used to compile the list was opaque, and critics immediately questioned its accuracy. No matter. Republican officials went wild. The state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, a fierce champion of voting restrictions, tweeted a “VOTER FRAUD ALERT,” claiming that about 95,000 people whom state law enforcement officials have identified “as non-U.S. citizens have a matching voter registration record in TX, approx 58,000 of whom have voted in TX elections. Any illegal vote deprives Americans of their voice.”
Not to be outdone, Mr. Trump flogged the list with characteristic finesse: “These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. All over the country, especially in California, voter fraud is rampant. Must be stopped. Strong voter ID!”
But, like so many Republican tales of mass fraud, the claims soon crumbled. Within days, the secretary of state acknowledged that his list was chock-full of names improperly flagged for a variety of reasons. Of those people whose names were correctly flagged, it was unclear whether any had voted in a state election.