AUSTIN, Texas — Emails from within the Texas Department of Public Safety seem to indicate that Gov. Greg Abbott pushed for an investigation into the citizenship status of Texas voters in 2018. Abbott's office is strongly denying these claims.
Back in January, David Whitley, who was the Secretary of State at the time, released results of a citizen investigation. Whitley claimed DPS data and voter rolls indicated that about 100,000 noncitizens may have illegally registered to vote.
It was later revealed that many of the names on the list belonged to people who became naturalized U.S. citizens, meaning they were able to vote.
Within the 46 pages of emails between DPS officials and the secretary of state's office, two sent on Aug. 27 mention Abbott:
“The Governor is interested in getting this information as soon as possible,” said Amanda Arriaga, director of the DPS driver’s license division, in an email to other DPS officials.
John Crawford, who works with DPS, then asked other DPS officials for an update on the citizenship data held by the agency in an email.
“We delivered this information earlier in the year, and we have an urgent request from the Governor’s Office to do it again,” Crawford said in an email.
According to KVUE's media partners at the Austin American-Statesman, Abbott spokesperson John Wittman said the governor did not push DPS to give citizenship data for the investigation.
“This is patently false,” Wittman reportedly said. “Neither the governor nor the governor’s office gave a directive to initiate this process.”
Shortly after the investigation was originally released, Abbott thanked Whitley for his work handling the investigation in a tweet.
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