Part of the fallout from President Obama’s granting tentative legal status to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants is the impact on the integrity of our elections, specifically is the concern it will make it easier for those covered to register to vote and vote. This issue is explored in a piece today in Bloomberg View that argues Obama’s executive action may spur states to push for laws requiring proof of citizenship to register and/or beefed up ID requirements.
Adding another five million to the already several million legal immigrants in the U.S. is undoubtedly going to further expose the vulnerabilities states have in keeping non-citizens off the voter rolls. Except for a few states with explicit proof of citizenship requirements, there is simply no automatic check election officials have to confirm for certain whether an individual registering to vote is a citizen. As Bloomberg points out, “[v]oters typically register by providing a driver's license or Social Security number. Since noncitizen legal residents are eligible for such documentation –- which the Supreme Court affirmed this week -- Obama’s executive actions raise the possibility that more might illegally register to vote.”
To many Americans’ surprise, there is no national citizenship database available to election officials. They use Social Security, DMV, and other database information in addition to voters’ self-affirming their U.S. citizenship on applications, but as Bloomberg points out you do not need to be a citizen to obtain a Driver’s License or a Social Security Number. Ultimately, our system depends on individuals being honest and certainly most are. The honor system, however, is no way to ensure the integrity of our voter rolls.
We already know non-citizens are getting on the rolls and with more now likely being eligible for social security numbers and other government credentials, the problem will grow. Bloomberg writes about North Carolina:
North Carolina recently conducted an audit of its voter rolls and found more than 1,400 possible noncitizens. More than 200 of them had voted (possibly legally), and 98 of them were registered even though they checked “No” when asked if they were U.S. citizens, because they signed the form attesting that they were.
This is in addition to a recent jaw dropping study from Professors at Old Dominion University that showed the impact on non-citizen voting and how it can (and likely has already) made the difference in close elections. Bloomberg fairly blames Democrats for their absolute refusal to support election officials’ attempts to remove non-citizens and provides some practical recommendations:
The question of how to prevent noncitizen registration and voting is a legitimate one, but thus far Democrats have shown little interest in answering it. Yet there are plenty of ways to use technology to improve ballot security, while also making it easier to vote.
For instance, now that nearly every state has a computerized database of registered voters, confirming someone’s citizenship should be relatively easy to do. Data-sharing among state and federal agencies could solve much of the proof-of-citizenship problem without putting unnecessary burdens on eligible voters.
Let’s hope Democrats don’t exacerbate one of the many problems created by Obama’s Executive Amnesty. Obama has put the electoral system at risk by making it easier for illegal non-citizens to register to vote. Democrats, including Obama’s DOJ, should support rather than fight efforts to keep these individuals from voting.