McAuliffe vetoed a bill that would have required local election officials to investigate when their voter rolls contain more registered voters than citizens who are eligible to vote, or when the number of people voting in an election exceeds the number of registered voters. The bill would also have made reports of officials’ findings public documents.
The bill, SB 1105, was prompted by a report documenting what hyperpartisan Democrats like McAuliffe claim never happens: non-citizens illegally registered and voting.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), an Indiana-based group that litigates to protect election integrity, released the report last year that sparked Obenshain’s bill.
PILF’s report found 1,046 aliens who were illegally registered to vote in a small sample of eight Virginia counties that responded to its public records requests. . . .
“As PILF previously reported, these eight problematic jurisdictions had more than 1,000 alien voters removed from the rolls in years past with roughly 20 percent casting ballots before being caught.”
McAuliffe said in his veto statement that responding to obvious errors in Virginia’s voter rolls is too much of an “administrative burden” for the local election officials appointed to do that job.
Secretary Husted is the first of the Ohio’s chief elections officials to initiate a review of Ohio’s Statewide Registered Voter Database (SWRVD) to identify non-citizens on the voter rolls. This is the third review Secretary Husted’s administration has conducted. . . .
The Secretary of State’s office has been able to identify these non-citizens on the rolls using information provided by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) as applicants are required to provide documentation of their legal presence with their application for a state identification or drivers’ license. The non-citizens were identified by the Secretary of State’s Office using a double confirmation process, which requires a registered voter to have provided documentation to the BMV themselves indicating that they are a non-U.S. Citizen two times before being flagged.
Since 2013, Husted has uncovered 821 non-citizens registered to vote in Ohio; 126 illegally cast ballots. The 82 non-citizens found this year to have illegally registered and voted “will be immediately referred to state and federal law enforcement officials for further investigation and possible prosecution.”
But there are likely more non-citizens on Ohio’s voter rolls that Husted’s reviews haven’t been able to find, “given the lack of access to more real-time data maintained by the federal government.”
In February and July of 2015, Secretary wrote then-President Barack Obama requesting that the states be given real-time access to accurate, searchable, electronic databases of non-citizens who have valid Social Security numbers so that they may distinguish between citizens and lawfully-present non-citizens. That same year, Secretary Husted also testified before a congressional committee about how this type of data can be used by the states to properly maintain their respective voter rolls. In the coming weeks, Secretary Husted plans to renew his call for access to this information.
The new administration is likely to be much more responsive to such requests.
The Department of Justice under President Donald Trump will support Texas officials’ claim that the state’s voter identification law did not specifically target minority voters, retreating from the federal government’s previous stance that state lawmakers intentionally discriminated when crafting the law.
The case will be back in U.S. District Court Tuesday.
Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos denied a joint request last week from DOJ and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to postpone the February 28 hearing while the Texas Legislature considers a bill amending its voter ID law. SB5 would incorporate affidavit provisions that Judge Ramos ordered the state to use in the November 2016 election.
The proposal, if referred to the November 2018 ballot and approved by voters, would amend the Arkansas Constitution to include among the qualifications to vote a requirement that a person show photo ID before casing a ballot in person and include photo ID when mailing an absentee ballot.
HJR 1016 has been referred to the Senate.
Another bill requiring photo identification when voting in person or by mail, House Bill 1047, also passed the House and the Senate Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs.
The power to mandate or standardize American voter ID laws is the same power that could one day ban all state use of Voter ID. That’s Constitutional law 101. . . . Republicans and election integrity advocates who want to awaken it – and promote national voter identification mandates or standards – would awaken a federal beast that could ultimately ban all state voter ID laws.
All across America, states are fighting the federal government so they may execute their Constitutional power to craft and uphold reasonable voter qualifications, especially where keeping non-citizens from casting ballots is involved. Federal standards over elections are the dream of the institutional Left – and the nightmare of America’s Founders.
Why is it so important that voter ID standards remain a state, not a federal, decision?
Because decentralization of control over elections preserves liberty.
The Founders knew the danger of central authority. They knew people in the future would welcome small trade-offs that undermine this ideal. National voter ID, but no more!, they’ll say. So goes the fallacy.
Central authority is a greater threat to the integrity of American elections than voter impersonation at the polls. Even alien voting is a bigger threat to the integrity of American elections than voter impersonation at the polls – and voter ID does nothing to prevent that.
Frustration with voter fraud can make a quick fix look like the best fix. A national voter ID standard is a quick fix that undermines the Constitutional order. It also invites a dangerous counter-strike the next time the Democrats run the federal government – a federal ban on voter ID. That’s an outcome I suspect nobody who cares about election integrity would want. The answer is instead to pass good state voter ID laws, no matter how different each one looks. That’s the American way.
North Carolina’s newly elected Democrat Governor and Attorney General are attempting to stop the state’s U.S. Supreme Court appeal to reinstate its voter ID law that was initiated by the previous governor, Republican Pat McCrory, but it’s not clear if their efforts to keep the election integrity measure blocked will work or are even legal.
Governor Roy Cooper and state Attorney General Josh Stein “sent a letter on Tuesday dismissing private attorneys who had been representing the state in an appeal of a ruling last year by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that found key provisions of a 2013 elections law overhaul unconstitutional. . . . But state lawmakers countered that the private attorneys represent the state, not Cooper and Stein, making their move to discharge the attorneys invalid.”
Thomas Farr, a Raleigh attorney who has represented the lawmakers for several years in the elections law case, sent a letter to William McKinney, Cooper’s general counsel, arguing that neither the governor nor Stein have the authority to discharge him and others at his firm from the case and that he and others plan to continue in the case.
Regardless of efforts by Cooper and Stein, the State Board of Elections and its executive director and members continue to be parties to the case, and Republican General Assembly members who sponsored the legislation can petition to intervene in the case to continue the SCOTUS review process.
Republican House and Senate leaders were quick to criticize Cooper and Stein’s move to dismiss outside counsel representing the state in its bid to reinstate the law:
“Roy Cooper’s and Josh Stein’s desperate and politically-motivated stunt to derail North Carolina’s voter ID law is not only illegal, it also raises serious questions about whether they’ve allowed their own personal and political prejudices and conflicts of interest to cloud their professional judgment,” Phil Berger, the Rockingham County Republican who leads the Senate, and Tim Moore, the Cleveland County Republican at the head of the House, said in a joint statement.
Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick had registered to vote in Illinois, and had even cast ballots in two federal elections, despite being a citizen of Peru, not the U.S.
That was enough to trigger an American law that allows the government to kick out non-citizens who vote illegally, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.
Like non-citizen Rosa Maria Ortega who was just convicted of illegally voting in Texas, the voter registration honor system enabled Fitzpatrick to register and vote just by checking a box.
Ms. Fitzpatrick had registered to vote when she went to get a driver’s license. Under the federal motor-voter law, she was given the option to check a box signaling she was a citizen and wanted to vote.
Also like Ortega, Fitzpatrick was only discovered when she outed herself, admitting on her application for citizenship that she had illegally registered and voted.
“This case demonstrates how difficult it is to pursue non-citizen voting crimes without verification measures in voter registration and a federal government that has expressed clear disinterest in combating the problem until now,” said PILF President J. Christian Adams. “The Trump administration has the right and responsibility to study the true extent of illegal voting by ineligible persons. Hopefully, this case marks a new chapter for election integrity in the years ahead.”
The conviction of Texas resident and Mexican national Rosa Maria Ortega for illegally registering and voting multiple times is the latest proof of why we need more than just a check box to make sure that only eligible citizens are registering and voting in American elections.
In Texas, home to more than 4.5 million immigrants, lawmakers are again proposing legislation to verify the citizenship of Texans registering to vote. Other state legislatures are considering similar proposals to prevent non-citizens like Ortega from illegally participating in elections.
The Ortega case perfectly demonstrates the necessity of these bills. The voter registration process is one of the remaining aspects of elections that still rely on the honor system. . . .
The honor system failed with Ortega and is failing across America. Unfortunately, this problem was created by the Motor Voter law in 1993 which made the failing honor system federal law.