Trump Tweeted Fake News About Texas Voter Rolls - Rolling Stone
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Trump Tweeted Fake News About Texas Voter Rolls

The president misconstrued a report about possible non-citizens voting

President Donald Trump

Susan Walsh/AP/REX/Shutterstock

On Sunday, President Donald Trump woke up and must have decided there wasn’t enough fake news circulating on Twitter, so he sent out a tweet stating that 58,000 non-citizens voted in Texas, where he claims 95,000 non-citizens are registered to vote. Except it’s not true.

According to the Texas Tribune, which reported the news Trump is misconstruing, the Texas secretary of state’s office is circulating a “list of 95,000 registered voters who the state says counties should consider checking to see whether they are U.S. citizens and, therefore, legally eligible to vote.”

The key phrase here is that they “should consider checking” whether these registered voters are citizens, since they provided a valid visa or green card at the time they got their driver’s license. But many of these voters could have become citizens in the meantime. Of those names, the secretary of state said, 58,000 on the list have cast a vote in elections between 1996 and 2018. But that does not mean that they are all (or even mostly) non-citizens. And, furthermore, the secretary of state emphasized that these should be considered “WEAK” matches, and emphasized the word with all caps — a tactic Trump is all too familiar with.

In fact, the Tribune was aware that this news could be easily misinterpreted and even issued a tweet thread explaining what this list of names means (and doesn’t mean):

So, if election officials look into the names and discover that someone is not listed as a citizen, they have to send the voter a notice requesting proof of citizenship before they can remove them from the rolls. And it’s likely that many have become citizens since registering. As Chris Davis, the head of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators, told the Tribune: “People get naturalized. It’s entirely too early to say that [they are voting illegally].”

But facts and nuance like this have never gotten in Trump’s way before, so we will undoubtedly hear him yelling about this at his next rally.

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