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Monday, November 1, 2010

The real foreign influence scandal is number of non-U.S. citizens unlawfully registering and voting

The real foreign influence scandal concerns the number of non-U.S. citizens unlawfully registering and voting in U.S. elections — and the apathy with which this crime is often met.

It is a federal crime for non-citizens to vote in any federal and most state elections under the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. Some non-citizens—legal permanent residents, not illegal immigrants—are allowed to vote in certain local elections.

This year in Portland, Maine, a ballot question is to ask residents whether non-citizens should be allowed to vote in local elections. San Francisco voters are due to decide whether non-citizens with children in the school system can vote in school board elections.

But there is considerable evidence that non-citizens are already voting illegally, to the extent that they are affecting election outcomes. (Continues here)

In 2005, for example, it was revealed that dozens, or even hundreds, of non-U.S. citizens living in Harris County, Texas, had voted in local and national elections. This was due to the county’s reliance on an “honor system” — that allows anyone to vote who checks a specific box on voter cards, indicating they are a U.S. citizen.

Official inquiries have also revealed widespread non-citizen voting in Maricopa County, Ariz., and Compton, Calif., among other locations.

The problem may be bigger that this, however. The Government Accountability Office documented this in its 2005 report, “Elections: Additional Data Could Help State and Local Elections Officials Maintain Accurate Voter Registration Lists,”

It found examples of county jury administrators referring to election officials hundreds of names from voter registration lists because the registrants were not citizens. (U.S. district courts use voter registration lists to draw names for jury pools.)

In one U.S. district court, up to three percent of people in a jury pool of 30,000 over two years, or 900 people, said they were not U.S. citizens. Although we do not know how many of these non-citizens voted, many polling places require only that registered voters show proof of identity to vote.

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