Texas’ botched search for noncitizens on the voter rolls, which ended in a legal settlement after state officials jeopardized the voting rights of thousands of legitimate voters, was paid for in part with dollars earmarked for bolstering election security amid concerns of interference in 2016.
The Secretary of State’s Office used roughly $121,000 in funds it received from the federal Help America Vote Act to run its search for supposed noncitizens. The dollar figure was provided to state lawmakers and confirmed Wednesday by a spokesman for the secretary of state who said it was a legitimate use of the money because it was meant to improve the state’s maintenance of its massive voter registration list.
Texas was granted $23.3 million as part of Congress’ 2018 reauthorization of the Help America Vote Act to help improve and secure elections. It allowed the state to put the money toward election security enhancements, including replacing voting equipment, upgrading election-related computer systems to address cybersecurity vulnerabilities and funding “other activities that will improve the security of elections for federal office.”