Plano State Senator Files Bill for Voter Citizenship Verification - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

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Plano State Senator Files Bill for Voter Citizenship Verification



    State Lawmaker Van Taylor has filed a bill for the fourth time to verify citizenship for voters. (Published Friday, Feb. 10, 2017)

    State Senator Van Taylor of Plano has filed a bill to verify the citizen of someone allying to vote in Texas. 

    NBC 5 looked into the process this week, after a Tarrant County woman was found guilty of voting illegally.

    NBC 5 Political Reporter Julie Fine reached out to the Secretary of State’s office. 

    A spokesperson sent the safeguards they use to prevent illegal voting. 

    The first step is that a voter must confirm on the application that he or she is a citizen. 

    From there, voters are required to provide their driver’s license, or the last four digits of their Social Security number. 

    The information is then cross-referenced with the Department of Public Safety. DPS then verifies the identification. 

    In addition, jury clerks send information to voter registrars and the Secretary of State, about a person who claims exemption from jury duty.

    So, while the Secretary of State checks the ID, Taylor points out that this does not confirm citizenship. He also says there is a very easy way to do so: information from a DPS database contacting license information. 

    We reached out to the DPS. A DPS spokesman said, according to the transportation code, anyone applying for a driver’s license or ID must show information regarding citizenship. That information is stored in the Driver’s License System database. But he said right now, a law is needed to get the Secretary of State’s office access to it. He has filed a bill, and there is a companion bill in the house as well.

    “The Secretary of State does not have statutory authority. The legislature has not passed a law allowing the Secretary of State to verify the citizenship using the database that we already have,” said Taylor.

    The bill calls for more than just usage of the database. It also calls to amend the election code, saying a person who applies to vote in person must show a valid passport, a birth certificate or citizenship papers.

    Taylor has tried to get this bill passed four times.

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