Throughout the current presidential campaign, a number of questions have arisen about the about the number of noncitizens voting in U.S. elections and the relative ease with which they seem to be able to register. J. Christian Adams of the Election Law Center has called illegal alien voting “the biggest threat to the 2016 elections.”
The problem isn’t limited to illegal aliens, though. At any given time, there are 10-20 million noncitizens lawfully present in the United States with very few safeguards in place to prevent or deter any of them from voting. There is evidence that these foreigners are voting. And in close races around the country, even a small number of fraudulently cast votes can swing an election. Aliens were recently discovered on the rolls in both Virginia and Pennsylvania.
What is the government doing about it? Alien voter prosecutions are rare. The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York recently charged a Canadian woman with making a false claim to U.S. citizenship in order to vote. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website lists a 2011 arrest of an illegal alien charged with voter fraud. And diligent search of the Internet will produce several accounts of state arrests for egregious instances of illegal voting but this is clearly not a prominent issue for state prosecutors.
Meanwhile, the federal courts keep striking down voter ID laws, robbing electoral authorities of the most reasonable means for ensuring the integrity of the balloting process. Measures in Kansas, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin have all been nullified on the grounds that they would have a discriminatory impact on minority voters. This argument doesn’t make sense, since the vast majority of adults in America hold some form of photo identification and states with voter ID laws offer qualifying documentation at minimal or no cost.
Although dismissed by many as a “witch hunt” or a myth, with the 2016 election fast approaching, the possibility exists that voting by noncitizens could significantly influence the results. And, given the rate at which both the legal and illegal alien populations have been allowed to grow, the United States should be concerned with ensuring that the electoral power of U.S. citizens is not undermined by individuals and entities whose interests may not coincide with those of the American people.