AUSTIN, Texas — There appear to be significant racial disparities in prosecutions by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Election Integrity Unit, according to new analysis by the ACLU of Texas.
Since Paxton took office in 2015, at least 72% of the Election Integrity Unit’s prosecutions appear to have been against Black and Latinx individuals. Women of color also have been frequent targets of the attorney general’s office. At least 45% of all Election Integrity Unit prosecutions appear to have been brought against Black women and Latinx women.
Texans have cast well over tens of millions votes in elections that occurred while Paxton has been attorney general. In that time, the Election Integrity Unit has initiated only 93 prosecutions, the vast majority of which concern unproven allegations, either because the case is still pending or because it was resolved without trial. These cases raise serious concerns about racial bias in Paxton’s office.
The Texas Legislature is currently considering adding even more criminal offenses to the voting process, especially through House Bill 6, which contains several provisions that would criminalize even innocent conduct. House Bill 6 will be heard in the House Elections Committee on Thursday morning.
“Any lawmaker looking at this data should have significant concerns about laws like HB 6 that give the attorney general even more tools to target communities of color,” said Tommy Buser-Clancy, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas. “Texas lawmakers should be focused on making voting easier and more accessible, not further criminalizing the process, which will disproportionately impact communities of color.
“Texans want to live in a democracy where elected officials serve on their behalf and solve their problems. We need to keep asking lawmakers questions about why they want to make voting even harder in Texas without any justification or evidence supporting restrictions.”
The ACLU of Texas analysis was based on review of six years of publicly available data. Click here to download.