GOP Bill Aims to Curb Non-Citizen Voting, Unlikely to Pass Senate

U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. House of Representatives. Credit | Getty images

United States – The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives is preparing to vote on Wednesday on a bill that criminalizes non-citizens’ voting in federal elections, a practice that is already prohibited and which has been aggravated by former President Donald Trump’s fraud allegations.

With less than four months to Trump’s Nov. 5 election battle against Democratic President Joe Biden, House Republicans, including Speaker Mike Johnson, have endorsed the bill following assertions that those who sneak through the Mexican border could influence the outcome of the current year’s presidential and congressional elections, as reported by Reuters.

Opposition in Senate

On Tuesday, Johnson falsely stated that Democrats inspired the act of voting by non-citizens.

“Many of the Democrats want all of these illegals to participate in our federal elections. They want them to vote,” he said at a news conference.

It may not make it very far in the Democratic-majority Senate; thus, the legislation is likely to be dead on arrival. Democrats have already dismissed the bill as a mere “stunt” designed to create “confusion and distrust” while arguing that it is a form of suppression of the vote.

Concerns Over Voter Suppression

“For all the hysterical rhetoric … Republicans have one real purpose here: to continue to erode the confidence of Americans in our election system,” said Rep. Joe Morelle (D-N. Y.), the top Democrat on the House Administration Committee that oversees election matters.

Democratic lawmaker Teresa Leger Fernandez said that if adopted, the legislation will weaken the voting rights of U. S. citizens, servicemen and women, Indigenous people, people of color, and people living in rural areas.

“It is shameful and unpatriotic when Republicans take aim at voter participation,” the New Mexico Democrat said.

Trump and Johnson’s Support for the Legislation

Johnson, who received Trump’s support to fend off a move to oust him from the leadership by firebrand Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, presented the legislation during an April joint news conference with the former president in Florida.

Former President Trump, who has not stopped lying that the last 2020 presidential election was rigged through fraud, supports the bill.

Republicans argue that the legislation would protect voting by insisting that states gather information about U.S. citizenship before allowing individuals to register as voters and demographically cleaning their lists of voters.

Johnson and other Republicans have also cited data indicating that some states have registered non-citizens to vote and pointed to municipalities such as New York City, Washington, D.C., and Montpelier, Vermont, which allow resident aliens to vote in certain elections.

Debunking Non-Citizen Voting Claims

They also make essential use of a discredited 2014 survey purporting to reveal a level of noncitizen voting that could flip congressional and presidential elections. Essentially, Trump cited the study in his assertion that ‘illegitimate votes’ from non-citizens propelled Clinton to gain more  vote in the 2016 presidential election.

“This is a scare tactic,” said Wendy Weiser, the director of democracy at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. ”Foreigners do not have the right to vote in the U. S. elections, and there are enhanced measures that are taken to prevent non-citizens from voting; it is against the federal and state laws, as reported by Reuters.

The Brennan Center study analyzed 42 locations, representing 23.5 million votes in the 2016 presidential election out of which they were able to identify only 30 cases possibly involving non-citizen voting or 0.0001% of votes cast.