Republican Introduces Bill Requiring Proof Of Citizenship To Vote

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Authored by Joseph Lord via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The U.S. Capitol building during a rainy day in Washington on April 2, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) has introduced a bill in the lower chamber of Congress that would ensure that illegal immigrants do not vote in federal elections.

The Epoch Times first obtained a copy of the bill, dubbed the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility Act.

The bill is being introduced with the support of House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), who vowed to bring up such a bill during an appearance with former President Donald Trump weeks ago.

Although noncitizen voting in federal elections is already unlawful, past Supreme Court decisions limit states’ power to ensure that voters are citizens.

Mr. Roy’s bill seeks to strengthen safeguards around voter registration to ensure compliance with existing law against noncitizens voting.

To this end, it demands that a state “shall not accept and process an application to register to vote in an election for Federal office unless the applicant presents documentary proof of United States citizenship with the application.”

Speaking at a May 8 press conference in support of the legislation, Mr. Johnson tied it to ongoing protests at campuses across the United States.

“In recent days, we’ve seen a growing number of folks on student visas show their willingness to break the law and utterly disrupt our way of life and threaten law-abiding students who are actually American citizens,” Mr. Johnson said. “If they’re willing to take over buildings and physically terrorize their fellow students, why would they not be willing to lie on a voter registration form?”

Stephen Miller, a former senior adviser to President Trump, also commented during the press conference.

If Hakeem Jeffries and his Democrat members try to kill this bill, they will be declaring to the whole country that they want Joe Biden’s illegals to vote in this election,” Mr. Miller said.

‘Sacred Right and Responsibility’

The bill lists several acceptable documents to verify the citizenship of a would-be voter, including a REAL ID compliant identification, a U.S. passport, a military ID card, or any valid state, federal or tribal identification, such as a birth certificate, hospital record, or adoption certificate, showing that the individual was born in, or is a naturalized citizen of, the United States.

The bill also provides for accommodations for mail-in voting registration or those unable to produce documentary proof of citizenship, who can undergo a separate process to have their citizenship verified.

States would also be required to “take affirmative steps on an ongoing basis to ensure that only United States citizens are registered to vote,” including clearing the voter rolls of those who are ineligible to vote due to their status as noncitizens. To that end, the bill also clarifies the conditions under which a state may seek to remove an individual from voter rolls.

Additionally, the bill would require the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to investigate noncitizens who are illegally registered to vote, up to and including the possibility of removal proceedings.

The same bill will be introduced to the Democrat-controlled Senate by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who encouraged that it be taken up and passed in a statement to The Epoch Times.

Thousands of illegal immigrants are being given voter registration forms and driver’s licenses, allowing them to cast illegitimate ballots on election day,” Mr. Lee said. “At a time when trust in voting is more important than ever, we must stop foreign election interference and pass the SAVE Act.

“Voting is both a sacred right and responsibility of American citizenship, and allowing the people of other nations access to our elections is a grave blow to our security and self-governance. I’m proud to stand with Chip Roy to save our democratic process and representative government.”

Mr. Lee also spoke during the press conference.

“There is not a good, legitimate reason to oppose this bill,” he said. “In fact, there are all kinds of things that would be wrong with this institution if it failed immediately to pass this bill and send it to the President for his signature.”

Speaking with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Johnson explained why the conference is pursuing this legislation now.

During his remarks, he noted that as many as 16 million new illegal immigrants could have entered the country under President Joe Biden’s term in office. Estimates of the exact number vary widely.

Among the problems that flows from this open border catastrophe is directly related to this threat to election integrity,” Mr. Johnson said.

Current Law

Mr. Johnson tied his concerns primarily to the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), otherwise dubbed the “Motor Voter” law, which allows people to register to vote at the same time that they pick up a driver’s license from their state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or other state agencies.

However, the law does not allow states to seek documentary proof of citizenship, instead requiring that they take an individual’s word that they are a citizen unless the individual’s eligibility is called into question.

A 2013 Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona expanded on the law, finding that the federal law supersedes existing state laws requiring documentary proof to vote—effectively banning states from imposing such requirements for federal voter registration.

Speaking about this law, Mr. Johnson said, “we think that’s a serious problem”—one that he said Republicans will seek to amend.

As so many illegal immigrants are already in the country, current law raises red flags that could potentially affect the outcome of the election, Mr. Johnson said.

“There’s so many millions of illegals in the country, that if only one out of one hundred voted, they would cast potentially hundreds of thousands of votes,” Mr. Johnson said. “That could turn an election.”

Critics of the bill have retorted that federal law already prohibits illegal immigrants from voting—a fact which they say makes the bill redundant.

However, due to the Supreme Court’s expansion of the NVRA in 2013, existing laws include no solid mechanism for states to ensure that their voters are citizens.

It’s unclear when the bill will be taken up in the lower chamber. But with Mr. Johnson’s blessing, it’s all but certain to come to the floor—forcing Democrats onto the record on the issue as immigration becomes a top concern for voters.

With Republicans’ slim majority, the bill has good odds of passing the lower chamber; it faces longer odds in the Democrat-controlled Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) decides what comes to the floor.

 

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