Texas "Dead" Voter Letters Sent More Often to Black Districts

The Houston Chronicle finds that voter registration purges are disproportionately targeting African-Americans and Hispanics.

Posted: 10/05/2012 04:43 PM EDT
Texas "Dead" Voter Letters Sent More Often to Black Districts

In an effort to purge a list of 81,000 potentially dead voters, Texas counties sent out letters to voters asking if they are still alive. This is a routine process where counties in all states check registrations with a list of those who've passed away, but seeing how Texas is conducting such a massive undertaking so close to Election Day (and using unreliable information from the Social Security Administration) is putting voters on edge. Plus, the Houston Chronicle has discovered that these letters are being sent to voters in Black districts more often than to voters who live in other districts.

The Houston Chronicle states:

"Voters in traditionally African-American neighborhoods were disproportionately affected when Harris County officials notified 9,000 people their registrations could be cancelled unless they proved they were not deceased, according to a Chronicle analysis of data obtained from the Texas Secretary of State.

Already, 32 percent of voters who received "Are you dead?" letters across the county in September - just six weeks before the presidential elections - have confirmed they are very much alive, election officials said this week. Because of widespread complaints, no county voters will be purged before the November elections unless their deaths are independently confirmed, according to Don Sumners, the county's tax assessor collector and voter registrar.

The Chronicle's analysis showed that voters living in black districts -—specifically created by lawmakers to enhance political representation of blacks on the county commission and the Texas Legislature — received more letters than voters in other districts. Nearly 2,900 live in Harris County Commissioner's Precinct 1 — a minority opportunity district created more than two decades ago that includes most of the county's historically black neighborhoods."

Read the full story here.

 

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