Jun 5, 2019

Texas Gov. Abbott behind voter purge plan, DPS emails claim

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Two senior Department of Public Safety officials cited Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) as initiating a drive to purge nearly 100,000 suspected non-U.S. citizens from state voter rolls, emails made public Tuesday show. His office denies the claims.

Why it matters: In February, a federal judge said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Texas. State officials reached an agreement with civil rights groups in April to halt the voter citizenship review, putting an end to multiple federal lawsuits challenging their controversial plan.

Details: The League of United Latin American Citizens and the Campaign Legal Center, which represented plaintiffs who sued Texas over the purge, provided the emailed correspondences. In one exchange, dated Aug. 27, 2018, DPS official John Crawford tells staff to provide the driver's license data used to compare with voter rolls.

"We delivered this information earlier this year, and we have an urgent request from the governor’s office to do it again."
— DPS official John Crawford email

What they're saying: Abbott’s office denied to AP he'd had any contact with the agency before the launch of the now-scrapped purge in late January. "Neither the Governor, nor the Governor’s office gave a directive to initiate this process,” Abbott's spokesman said in a statement, per AP. "No one speaks for the Governor’s office, but the Governor’s office."

Go deeper: Trump cites misleading Texas statistics in voter fraud claim

Editor's note: This headline has been amended to change "indicate" to "claim."

Go deeper

Kenan Thompson and Hasan Minhaj to headline White House Correspondents' Dinner

Kenan Thompson on "SNL" in 2018. Photo: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC via Getty Images

Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured "Saturday Night Live" cast member, will host the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on April 25.

And Hasan Minhaj — host of Netflix’s "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj," and the entertainer at the 2017 dinner — will return as featured entertainer.

"Billions": Season 2020

Mike Bloomberg speaks at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Va., on Saturday. Photo: James H. Wallace/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

Money alone can’t buy a presidential election, but it surely gets you VIP access.

Why it matters: Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is duking it out with Billionaire Donald Trump, often on Billionaire Jack Dorsey’s Twitter and in ads on Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, all chronicled in Billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post. 

Biometrics invade banking and retail

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Banks have been quietly rolling out biometrics to identify customers — verifying them by their fingerprint, voice or eye scan — and retailers like Amazon are getting into the game.

Why it matters: These companies are amassing giant databases of our most personal information — including our gait, how we hold our cellphones, our typing patterns — that raise knotty questions about data security and privacy.