May 21, 2024

Chip Roy, Mike Lee File Bill to Require Citizenship Proof to Vote

Pointing to the mixture of an open border and declining confidence in elections, congressional Republicans are backing laws to require proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote. 

“Due to the wide-open border that the Biden administration has refused to close, practically engineered to open, we now have so many noncitizens in the country that if only one out of 100 voted, they would cast hundreds of thousands of votes,” House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., mentioned Wednesday throughout a press convention in entrance of the Capitol. 

“Since our elections are so razor thin these days—just a few precincts in a few states decide the makeup of Congress and who is elected to the White House—this is a dangerously high number and it is a great concern to millions and millions of Americans. It could actually change the outcome of our elections,” Johnson mentioned. 

The Safeguard American Voter Eligibility Act, or SAVE Act, is sponsored within the House by Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, and by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, within the Senate. 

The House speaker famous that about 16 million unlawful aliens have entered the United States since Joe Biden took workplace as president. 

Although it’s already unlawful for these unlawful immigrants to vote in federal elections, Johnson mentioned, election officers don’t have any mechanism to deter them from registering to vote. 

“If a nefarious actor wants to intervene in our elections, all they have to do is check a box on a form and sign their name. That’s it,” Johnson mentioned.  

The laws would amend the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, higher referred to as the “motor voter law,” to require that states acquire documentary proof of citizenship from somebody earlier than she or he could register to vote. It additionally would require states to take away noncitizens from present voter rolls.

“The most fundamental thing you can do to destroy the rule of law and to destroy our republic is to undermine faith in elections and undermine integrity of elections by making it unclear as to who is voting and limiting our ability to know that only citizens are voting,” Roy informed reporters, including:  

We are right here for the proposition supported by the overwhelming majority of the American individuals: that solely residents of the United States ought to vote, that we must always have documentary proof, that we must always have a system to assure that solely residents of the United States vote in federal elections the place we now have the clear authority beneath the Constitution of the United States, beneath our legal guidelines as Congress, to set the phrases of these elections. 

For his half, Lee argued that the one-citizen-one-vote measure ought to have lawmakers’ unanimous support.

“When federal law has been interpreted as precluding in many ways the voter registration officials in various states from even inquiring into someone’s citizenship when addressing voter roll issues, we have a problem,” Lee mentioned. 

“It’s legislation that really ought to pass unanimously in both houses of Congress because the only reason to oppose this—that I can think of—would be if you are comfortable with or somehow want noncitizens to vote and noncitizens in some instances to influence the outcome of elections,” the Utah Republican continued. 

However, there may be opposition. It’s “not true” that noncitizens are voting, Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, a liberal advocacy group that opposes voter ID and different election safety measures, posted on X. 

Johnson introduced the laws final month whereas visiting former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

The press convention that includes Johnson, Lee, and Roy got here in the future after House Administration Chairman Bryan Steil, R-Wis., despatched a letter demanding solutions from the District of Columbia Board of Elections, which permits noncitizen voting in native races. Steil’s letter inquires how the District will make sure that noncitizens can’t vote in federal elections.

“Not only is D.C. allowing noncitizens to vote, but the board is actively encouraging it,” Steil writes. “In addition to board staff hosting a virtual town hall focused on the ability of noncitizen D.C. residents to vote, the committee has received notice regarding a postcard mailed by the board to ‘residential customers’ advocating for noncitizens to register to vote in D.C. elections.”

During his remarks Wednesday, Johnson additionally raised the difficulty of jurisdictions that permit noncitizens to vote in native elections.

“A growing number of localities are blurring the lines by allowing noncitizens to vote in municipal local elections,” the House speaker mentioned. “In cities and towns in California, Maryland, and Vermont, and even right here in D.C., you might not know this, but noncitizens are voting.”

But Jenny Beth Martin, honorary chairwoman of Tea Party Patriots Action, mentioned on the Capitol press convention that simply because it’s already unlawful doesn’t imply it isn’t taking place. 

“It’s already illegal for noncitizens to vote, but just because something is illegal doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. If you’re not a citizen, it’s illegal to enter our country without authorization. but that happens multiple millions of times every year,” Martin mentioned. “We’re trying to get ahead of the curve here.”