Texas Secretary of State David Whitley’s push to purge nearly 100,000 registered voters from the state’s rolls is over. Friday afternoon, a coalition of voting rights groups announced they’d reached a $450,000 settlement with the state.
The groups sued Whitley earlier this year over his order that counties across the state review the registration of those voters the Secretary of State’s Office said might be noncitizens. Per the terms of the agreement, Texas will pay the voting rights groups $450,000 to cover their legal fees and will be required to follow a new process when it wants to check on voters’ citizenship status.
With more than a little help from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Whitley issued a press release and advisory to Texas’ 254 counties in January, warning that Texas had 95,000 potential noncitizens on its voter rolls. County registrars, the advisory said, should check to see whether anyone whose name appeared on the list was actually a U.S. citizen. Whitley’s announcement came on a Friday afternoon, and he got headlines from the media and attention from President Donald Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, among others. Before the weekend was over, however, his list began to fall apart.