Texas secretary of state resigns after botched voter purge

Acting Texas Secretary of State David Whitley (R) resigned on Monday after his office wrongly questioned the U.S. citizenship of nearly 100,000 people, The Houston Chronicle reported.

The embattled official who oversaw the state’s elections penned a resignation letter to Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who nominated him for the job in December. 

“Working alongside the employees in the secretary of state’s office, county election officials, and representatives of our #1 trading partner, Mexico, has been my distinct honor and privilege,” Whitley wrote in the letter obtained by the newspaper. “And to have your trust in doing so goes beyond what I ever dreamed of as a kid growing up in a small South Texas community.”

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Whitley was facing a Monday deadline to be confirmed by the Texas Senate or lose his job. The letter was sent shortly before the state Senate adjourned until 2021, the Chronicle reported.

Abbott will need to name a replacement, who will likely not be confirmed until after the 2020 elections.

All 12 Democrats in the state Senate blocked Whitley's confirmation through the legislative session over the botched voter purge.

Whitley's office early this year launched a botched review of the state's voter rolls, saying officials had discovered as many as 95,000 noncitizens registered to vote and sending lists of names to county elections officials for review and purge.

Within days, the secretary of state’s office backtracked on the announcement after discovering that its original list was not properly vetted and included thousands of citizens.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE seized on the initial announcement to renew his claims about "rampant" voter fraud in the state.

"58,000 non-citizens voted in Texas, with 95,000 non-citizens registered to vote. These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. All over the country, especially in California, voter fraud is rampant. Must be stopped. Strong voter ID!" Trump tweeted in January.

federal judge, however, ruled in February that there was not widespread voter fraud in Texas and called Whitley's review a "mess." U.S. District Judge Fred Biery ordered Texas officials at the time to stop removing people from voter rolls.