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Harris County Halts Investigation Of Voters Flagged By Secretary Of State

County officials say they want to wait until the lawsuits filed against the state are resolved.

A Harris County election clerk works at the polling location at McNabb Elementary School, in Spring, on election day.
Al Ortiz/Houston Public Media
A Harris County election clerk works at a polling location at McNabb Elementary School, in Spring.

Harris County is halting its investigation of individuals flagged by the Texas Secretary of State as potential non-citizen voters.

Harris County Special Assistant Attorney Douglas Ray told Houston Matters this week that the original list the county received had 29,822 names.

The number of names decreased to 11,555 after following instructions from the Secretary of State to remove people who had registered at the Department of Public Safety, presented evidence of citizenship, or had registered to vote at a naturalization ceremony.

At that point, county officials conducted an audit of 150 randomly picked names and "of those 150 names, we were able to affirmatively confirm that 51 of them were American citizens," Ray told News 88.7 on Friday.

The county has now suspended its review of the list indefinitely.

Three lawsuits have been filed against the Texas Secretary of State over the statewide list, which some have categorized as an attempt to purge the voter rolls.

The lawsuits allege that people on the list are being unfairly and illegally targeted in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution.

"The most prudent thing for us to do at that point is to stop our review of the list all together and to wait for the outcome of the litigation," Ray said.

Harris County didn't send any notices to challenge the voter eligibility of the individuals on the list. But other counties, such as Galveston, did send notices and have been sued.

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