President Donald Trump’s election fraud commission asked every state and the District for detailed voter registration data, but in Texas’s case it took an additional step: it asked to see Texas records that identify all voters with Hispanic surnames, newly released documents show.
In buying nearly 50 million records from the state with the nation’s second largest Hispanic population, a researcher for the White House panel checked a box on two Texas public voter data request forms explicitly asking for the “Hispanic surname flag notation,” to be included in information sent to the commission, according to copies of the signed and notarized state forms….
The commission vice chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach (R) who launched the drive to collect data from every state, said “at no time did the commission request any state to flag surnames by ethnicity or race. It’s a complete surprise to me.”Told of documents showing the Texas purchase, Kobach said, “Mr. Williams did not ask any member of the commission whether he should check that box or not, so it certainly wasn’t a committee decision.”
Such “information does not, did not advance the commission’s inquiry in any way, and this is the first I’ve heard the Texas files included that,” Kobach said Friday….
The commission was chaired by Vice President Pence. A White House official, who asked to speak on condition of anonymity because the defunct panel is no longer under its purview, said that given the option in Texas, the commission asked to identify Hispanic surnames to resolve data discrepancies or confusion caused by the traditional Spanish naming convention that uses the surnames of both parents.
“There was never a request made to flag people based on their ethnicity,” the White House official said Friday. “That was never asked for, nor is that what this [Texas] response is saying, though I can see why some could read it that way,” the official said.