Voter registration

Trump says that Democrats allow illegal immigration for the purpose of having those illegal immigrants vote in elections. Is there evidence of this? Should something be done?

Evidence shows that very few cases of ineligible people casting a vote actually happen and those few cases are found in audits and investigated. The estimated number of illegal immigrants is vastly higher than the few cases of ineligible voting.

However, the article states:

“The Brennan Center and other advocacy groups say proof-of-citizenship requirements disenfranchise people when many eligible voters don’t have birth certificates or other applicable documents at hand. They say providing citizenship proof is an unnecessary step when research shows noncitizens are not voting in significant numbers.”

This is completely nonsensical. The idea that we shouldn’t secure elections because illegal immigrants are well behaved is completely bonkers.

It is the responsibility of every citizen, whether natural -born or naturalized, to have their citizenship documents and present them as needed at government offices including for voter registration. Requiring documents cannot be considered a form of disenfranchisement unless there is also a concerted effort against a group of people to steal or destroy their documents.

Such irresponsible statements are tinder for conspiracy theories about illegal immigrants voting.

This particular conspiracy theory is in a special category of concerns that we can and should address even if there is no evidence at all to support them, because addressing this concern will make our elections more secure, and secure elections are important to the legitimacy of elected officials and therefore important to a peaceful transition from one administration to the next at all levels of government.

So how do we address these concerns?

First, we already have a rule that only citizens vote in federal elections. However, to ensure that we can rely on state officials, we need a rule that only citizens can vote for state government officials including their legislature, and that all such elected and appointed state officials must be citizens.

Second, we need a federal system for cross checking voter registration so that a person cannot register to vote in multiple districts, so that changes in residency are communicated to old and new districts, and so incarcerated, deceased, or otherwise ineligible citizens are promptly removed from the voter rolls. There is currently a voluntary interstate system for this that has been disparaged by conspiracy theorists. It needs to be expanded to all states, be mandatory, and be operated or supervised by the federal government.

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