Victory for voting rights: Secretary of State David Whitley forced to resign

by | May 27, 2019 | Politics, Texas Legislature

The controversial Texas official responsible for attempting to purge thousands of eligible voters in Texas from the state’s voter rolls is out of a job.

Texas Secretary of State David Whitley, a former aide to Gov. Greg Abbott, resigned on Monday as the Texas Legislative session came to a close– the last day he was constitutionally allowed to work for the state without being confirmed by the Texas Senate.

“You did it, Texas,” the Texas Civil Rights Project, one of the lead groups fighting voter suppression, tweeted Monday. “You said no to voter purges and voter suppression, and as a result, David Whitley will not be confirmed as our TX Secretary of State.”

Abbott accepted Whitley’s resignation, commending his “moral character.”

Voting rights champions also defeated S.B. 9, high-profile legislation heralded by Republicans during the 86th legislation session. The bill would have made it more difficult to cast a vote in Texas – especially for those with a disability and in communities of color.

Democrats had refused to confirm Whitley for several months, blocking the two-thirds majority needed in the Texas Senate to confirm him.

Whitley made headlines only weeks into his tenure after he sent out a bogus press release in January warning of 95,000 “Possible Non-U.S. Citizens” that were registered to vote.

It was later revealed that thousands of names on the discriminatory list were actually citizens, threatening their right to vote based off outdated information.

The botched voter purge drew the ire of multiple civil rights groups who sued the office, eventually leading to a settlement with Whitley’s office that effectively rescinded the attempted voter purge.

“Secretary of State David Whitley appeared set to go down without a public fight in the final hours of an unusually quiet session of the Texas Legislature, where a weakened GOP majority this year showed little appetite for partisan battles over signs their grip on the Capitol is slipping,” ABC News reported.

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