The Brennan Center for Justice (BCJ) has recently been fond of tweeting over and over:
BCJ report found total of 30 cases of possible noncitizen voting—that’s 30, not 300, 3,000, 30,000, 300,000, or 3M
Turns out their numbers are an absurdly low estimate . . . even in just one city. Today, Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt released the following statement:
My office has identified 220 non-U.S. citizens who were registered to vote in Philadelphia at some point between 2006 and 2017. Of the 220 non-U.S. citizen registrants, 90 (41%) voted in at least one election. Of those who voted, 44 (49%) voted on one occasion, while 46 (51%) voted in two to twelve elections in the period in which they were registered. The total number of votes cast by non-U.S. citizens we identified is 227, with the largest number of votes (47) cast in the 2008 General Election. All 220 non-U.S. citizens provided documentation (e.g., signed affidavit or letter from the registrant or their immigration attorney) canceling their voter registration status on the grounds that they were not U.S. citizens and, therefore, were not eligible to register to vote.
Commissioner Schmidt traces the illegal votes to problems with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). Despite having a citizenship verification procedure, PennDOT still managed to register these non-citizens (emphasis added):
The overwhelming majority (76%) of non-U.S. citizens who registered to vote either initially registered to vote through PennDOT or modified their voter registration record through PennDOT. When non-U.S. citizens apply for a driver’s license, they are required to provide stay documents to show their legal status to remain in the U.S. for at least one year. PennDOT verifies these immigration documents electronically with the Department of Homeland Security and the applicant’s driver’s license record is marked using an INS Indicator. Nevertheless, following this interaction, non-U.S. citizen applicants – just the same as U.S. citizen applicants – are asked if they would like to register to vote using touch screen technology when driver’s licenses are issued to applicants at PennDOT offices. In addition to the possible challenge of limited English proficiency, it is also possible that – after just providing proof of their status as non-U.S. citizens – applicants believe they are eligible to vote.
“The current voter registration process at PennDOT is both harmful to election integrity and to members of the immigrant community seeking citizenship,” Schmidt said.
The last statement is important as it shows the problems with voter registration systems run through DMV. The DMV was asking them to register to vote AFTER they had established they were not a citizen. While the left is pushing for a much broader role for the DMV with systems such as "mandatory (or automatic) voter registration" that also serve to disenfranchise primary voters, these systems may be endangering non-citizens' immigration status. After all, why would you ask this question after you know I am not a citizen.
Liberal groups like the Brennan Center should stop denying that non-citizens vote and join with others that are working on fixing these problems both for election integrity and the benefit of legal immigrants seeking to become citizens.