Vox Sentences: The Texas voter purge

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

A flawed list of voters in Texas; the US will withdraw from a nuclear treaty with Russia.


A week of confusion for some Texan voters

 Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • The Texas secretary of state last week claimed that his office had identified 95,000 possible noncitizens on the voter rolls and gave the list to the attorney general for possible prosecution — leading to a claim from President Trump about widespread voter fraud and outrage from Democrats and activist groups. [NPR / Ashley Lopez]
  • The problem was the list wasn’t accurate. At least 20,000 names turned out to be there by mistake, leading to chaos, confusion, and concern that people’s eligibility vote was being questioned based on flawed data. [Dallas Morning News / James Barragán, Robert T. Garrett, and Julieta Chiquillo]
  • The list was made through state records going back to 1996 that show which Texas residents weren’t citizens when they got a driver’s license or other state ID. [Houston Chronicle / Allie Morris]
  • But a lot of people who may have had green cards or work visas at the time they got a Texas ID are on the secretary of state’s office’s list, and many have become citizens since then — nearly 50,000 people get US citizenship in Texas annually. [NPR / Ashley Lopez]
  • Latinos made up a big portion of the 95,000-person list. They’re also a large voter base in Texas that helped almost get Democrat Beto O’Rourke elected in the 2018 Senate race against Republican Ted Cruz. Now advocates fear Texas state officials are trying to suppress the growing strength of Latino votes by criminalizing new citizens. [NPR / Ashley Lopez]
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the list was a “work in progress” Thursday. But he didn’t stop the office’s work when it became clear many of the 95,000 names were actually US citizens who voted legally. [KSTX / Ashley Lopez]
  • The Texas list was used first as an example by crusaders against voter fraud. As the truth emerged, Democrats in Congress worried that it’s an example of the opposite — voter suppression. They have proposed a bill to restrict voter purges. [Fort Worth Star-Telegram / Andrea Drusch and William Douglas]

The end of a Cold War-era treaty

  • President Trump issued a statement Friday finalizing a decision to exit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia, claiming the Kremlin violated the agreement. [Vox / Alex Ward]
  • Russian and American officials have been in negotiations for the past few months, trying to reach an agreement on compliance. Neither side would compromise, so the US is promising to leave the treaty within six months. [Vox / Alex Ward]
  • Signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, the INF Treaty was hailed as the end of a nuclear arms standoff between the two nations during the Cold War. However, both countries continued to build missiles. [WSJ / Vivian Salama and Courtney McBride]
  • The US claims a Russian cruise missile is a violation of the INF; Russia has retorted by criticizing the US placing missile systems in Europe. Both countries are also aware that China and Iran, which never signed the INF, have been building nuclear stockpiles without restraint. [Council on Foreign Relations / Jonathan Masters]
  • Once the US exits the treaty, it would be free to build the kinds of long-range missiles it couldn’t under the INF. A senior US official also laid the blame for any renewed tensions between the countries at Moscow’s feet: “If there is an arms race, it is Russia that is starting it.” [Politico Europe / Nahal Toosi, Nancy Cook, and Bryan Bender]

Miscellaneous

  • Net neutrality was repealed in 2017 by the Federal Communication Commission. Today, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard oral arguments in a lawsuit to bring back the open-internet rules. [Slate / April Glaser]
  • Football isn’t the first choice of sports for many parents, but there’s a distinct racial divide in families who let their children play. [Atlantic / Alana Semuels]
  • At least 20 people have died due to freezing temperatures across the Midwest this week. Businesses, colleges, and schools are closed due to cold conditions, which have sent many people to the hospital. [NYT / Julie Bosman and Mitch Smith]
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren apologized to the Cherokee Nation Friday for taking a DNA test to prove her Native American ancestry. The Massachusetts Democrat has launched a presidential exploratory committee and is about to kick off a tour through Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. [NYT / Astead W. Herndon]
  • Girls can be Eagle Scouts too. The Boy Scouts of America (rebranding as BSA) will now give girls ages 11 to 17 the opportunity to achieve the organization’s highest rank. [NPR / Katie Blackley]

Verbatim

“I do think it’s very bad for a country when the news is not accurately portrayed. I really do. And I do believe I’m a victim of that, honestly.” [President Trump in an interview Thursday with two reporters and the publisher of the New York Times]


Watch this: The DeLorean paradox

The DeLorean was supposed to be the car of the future. Then they stopped making it. [YouTube / Phil Edwards]


Read more

After Vox story, Zuckerberg hospital promises to change its aggressive billing tactics.

Stacey Abrams’s new essay on identity politics reveals why she’s a rising star

Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman” is one of the greatest speeches in American rhetoric

Job growth in January was phenomenal. Wage growth was pathetic.

The Super Bowl halftime show controversies, explained