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GOP Targets Non-Citizen Voting, While Dems Say It Isn’t an Issue

It’s a battle of the narratives – and they can’t both be true.

by | May 10, 2024 | Articles, Good Reads, Opinion, Politics

Republicans are pushing election security again, and as usual, the response from the left is to accuse the GOP of making up a problem to suppress the vote. A bill recently introduced to Congress targets non-citizen voting by requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration.

But non-citizen voting isn’t really happening, according to Democrats and the left-wing press, though one might wonder, if that’s the case, why they oppose any citizenship verification. Is this just a case of Republican politicians hoping to drum up support ahead of the election – or, worse, are they really trying to suppress the minority vote as progressives allege? Or are the Democrats hoping to gaslight America and rack up some illegal votes? It’s a battle of the narratives, and they can’t both be true.

Voting and the Law

Federal law forbids non-citizens from voting in national elections. That’s already the law, as Democrats often point out when conservatives bring up the issue. The question, however, is whether it’s the law in any meaningful sort of way. Consider a similar question on another issue: It has been a crime for felons to buy firearms since the Gun Control Act of 1969 – but there wasn’t really a way to stop a criminal who didn’t mind lying about it from doing so until the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, was created in 1998. Progressives don’t argue for the removal of this roadblock to criminals arming themselves, nor do they seem particularly enthused to remove the strict ID requirements when purchasing – or, for that matter, carrying – a firearm.

Yes, it has long been a crime for criminals to arm themselves, yet it’s understood across the board that many still do. This same logic applies to a bill recently introduced by Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) and 48 Republican co-sponsors. The Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act would require in-person verification of citizenship in order to register to vote, and states would then have to purge their existing rolls of any non-citizens.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA), Rep. Roy, and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) announced the legislation Wednesday, May 8, and said it will ensure that only US citizens are voting in US elections.

“Due to the wide-open border that the Biden administration has refused to close – in fact, that they engineered to open – we now have so many noncitizens in the country that if only one out of 100 of those voted, they would cast hundreds of thousands of votes,” Johnson explained. He conceded that, yes, that would be illegal already, but he countered that truth with three others:

  1. Millions of illegals have crossed into the US under the Biden administration.
  2. A growing number of progressive municipalities are extending the right to vote to non-citizens in local elections.
  3. Democrats have expressed a desire to see non-citizens vote.

The Problem Isn’t Real – And If It Were, It Wouldn’t Be a Problem?

“Noncitizen voting isn’t an issue in federal elections, regardless of conspiracy theories. Here’s why,” reads one headline repeated, verbatim, throughout establishment media outlets like AP and ABC. “U.S. House GOP targets noncitizen voting, even though it’s rare,” according to the Missouri Independent. And from Votebeat: “The fear of noncitizen voting is as baseless as it has been for 200 years.”

Yet for all their demurring and dissembling on the topic, Democrats clearly do want “undocumented residents” participating in elections. Montpelier and Burlington in Vermont; Washington, DC; and San Francisco – deeply progressive cities, all – allow non-citizen voting in municipal elections, and New York City did, as well, until a judge struck it down. Similar efforts have been seen in Boston and Los Angeles, though they have so far been unsuccessful. A Democrat in Connecticut introduced a bill last year to allow non-citizens to vote in state elections.

“Our noncitizen residents are paying taxes, enrolled in school, working here in the District of Columbia, and involved in community affairs,” DC Councilmember Brianne Nadeau said. “And without this legislation, they don’t have a voice in our elections, which is essentially one of the most fundamental things in our country.”

In 2022, House Democrats killed a GOP effort to prevent non-citizens from voting in US elections, and leftist activists and Biden’s Department of Justice are presently tied up in litigation with the state of Arizona fighting a new law that sought to address this very issue. Under a federal voter registration law from 1993 and a consent decree from 2018, the state can’t stop people who use a federal voter registration form from voting in national elections – an application that does not require verification of citizenship. The Arizona fix was to go along with the established federal form but disqualify anyone from voting in state or local elections who didn’t fill out the Arizona version of the form and verify citizenship status. And now there are two tiers of voter registration in the Grand Canyon State.

How can Democrats prove that non-citizens aren’t voting? They can’t for the same reason that Republicans often can’t prove that they are. Unless someone gets caught, there’s no official record that they voted as a non-citizen if they’re never required to prove their status. Yet Democrats continue to demur and dissemble. So why do they fight so hard to stop the GOP from making sure?

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