Judge orders Texas not to purge voters after botching list

(Courtesy: Lauren Reid)

A federal judge says Texas counties may not remove any registered voters after state elections officials released an inaccurate list that questioned the U.S. citizenship of tens of thousands of people.

U.S. District Judge Fred Biery ruled Wednesday "the state created this mess" and said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud. He called Texas' efforts to find non-citizens on voting rolls "a solution looking for a problem."

The decision is a victory for civil rights groups that sued after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's chief elections official in January wrongly identified scores of eligible voters as possible non-citizens.

President Donald Trump had seized on the reports to renew unsubstantiated claims of rampant voter fraud.

The fallout has jeopardized Secretary of State David Whitley's confirmation in the Texas Senate.