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Saturday, March 30, 2024

Illegal Noncitizen Voting is Vanishingly Rare

At Axios, Stef Kight explains that illegal voting by noncitizens is extremely uncommon:
Non-citizen immigrants are barred by law from voting in federal elections. The very few who try it typically do so by accident, and are caught. The penalties can be severe, and include prison time or deportation.
Voting as a non-U.S. citizen "is a federal crime ... a removable offense, meaning that you can be deported," Sean Morales-Doyle, director of the Brennan Center Voting Rights Program, told Axios.
"The stakes are really, really high. And it's really easy to figure out that you did it," Morales-Doyle said.

Undocumented immigrants in particular are widely known to steer clear of giving out personal information or registering for anything involving U.S. and state governments, out fear of facing arrest or deportation.Some have even avoided public services they're entitled to, such as food stamps or housing benefits.


When non-citizens have ended up on voter rolls it's often by accident — not part of any conspiracy to affect an election, Morales-Doyle said.There have been several cases in which DMV officials have mistakenly led non-citizens to register to vote under "motor voter" policies.

Zoom in: Republicans seeking to justify claims of illegal voting by immigrants point to a few reports and probes that purported to have found large numbers of non-citizens who registered to vote or voted. Those claims wilted under scrutiny.In 2019, Texas began investigating what GOP officials claimed were as many as 100,000 non-citizens on the state's voter rolls. The alleged number of illegal registrants ticked down as the claims were examined. The investigation fizzled, and eventually a federal judge killed the probe, saying it was infringing on eligible voters' rights.
On the heels of Trump's first campaign for president in 2016, the Brennan Center for Justice examined about 23.5 million votes in 42 jurisdictions, looking for evidence of the illegal voting by non-citizens that Trump had claimed was prevalent. It found about 30 suspected illegal votes.