John Riley, Dallas Morning News, October 7, 2008
The former head of a Washington think tank specializing in immigration issues says that voter registration numbers in Texas and elsewhere may be inflated because of the presence of non-citizens on voter rolls.
David Simcox, former executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, released a study Tuesday afternoon that said an estimated 1.8 million to 2.7 million non-citizen immigrants in the Unites States may be illegally registered to vote, thereby potentially influencing the outcome of the upcoming presidential and congressional elections.
The report also estimated that anywhere from 161,000 to 333,000 non-citizens may be registered to vote in Texas.
The counties mentioned in Mr. Simcox’s report were Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, Harris, Maverick, Presidio, Starr, Tarrant, Travis, Valverde and Webb counties. The report found that, according to Mr. Simcox’s calculations, Dallas, Harris, Presidio and Starr counties had a higher number of registered voters than legitimately eligible voters, a figure that excludes non-citizens and convicted felons.
But Starr County Election Administrator Rafael Rodolfo Montalvo disputed the claims in Mr. Simcox’s report, saying he doesn’t understand how Mr. Simcox got his registration figures.
Mr. Montalvo said Starr County has about 66,000 residents and about 27,500 are registered voters. Mr. Montalvo also said that despite the county’s proximity to the Mexican border, the residents know each other and any non-citizens trying to vote would easily be pinpointed and stopped.
Mr. Montalvo also said there are plenty of safeguards in place in the registration process. Once a voter submits a driver’s license number or social security number, it is entered into a statewide electronic system. Then, the Secretary of State’s office must verify the information, and then approve a voter’s application. Only after approval is granted are applicants sent a voting card, Mr. Montalvo said.