Senator Ellis Press Release

For Immediate Release
October 3, 2012   
Contact: Jeremy Warren, 512-463-0113

Ellis Praises Timeout on SOS Voter Purge
High rate of "dead" voters were actually alive and well

(Austin, Texas)//State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston), today released the following statement regarding the decision by the Texas Secretary of State and Attorney General to halt the purge of "dead voters" from county voting rolls.


"I am very pleased that the Secretary of State and Attorney General have agreed to halt the flawed voter purge. I am glad Texas' election officials agreed with me that it was time to call a timeout in order to ensure the rights of legal Texas voters are protected.

"Last month, thousands of voters across Texas opened their mailbox to learn that they might be dead. Being alive, it was quite a shock to many of them. I quickly received calls from constituents -- very much alive -- who had received a letter from Harris County voting officials stating the government had obtained information indicating they were deceased and, unless they responded to the letter within 30 days, their voter registration will be cancelled. Thousands of such letters went out across the state.

"We all want accurate voter rolls. In the case of the voter purge, I don't think there is any nefarious or malicious intent. Instead, it is all about timing. Election officials took a year to get the list in place and they wanted to start the process barely a month before early voting begins. If these letters had gone out in May, we are not having this discussion because there would have had plenty of time to fix any errors.

"The process was clearly flawed and fraught with peril. It took too long to get underway and we are too close to Election Day to try to rush through a purge that will likely cost many Texans their opportunity to vote. Given the fact that we are less than barely a month away from election day and less than a week away from the registration deadline, now was the time to take action. If a process upon which you are relying to purge voters this close to the election is shown to be flawed, you have to start over. "

 

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