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Media Pretend Voters Saying They’re Citizens Is The Same As Proving They’re Citizens

The federal government currently prohibits states from requiring registrants to show proof of citizenship to vote in federal elections.


Left-wing corporate media went on a blitz this weekend dishonestly claiming legislation requiring people to prove their citizenship to register to vote is needless — even though the federal government currently prohibits states from requiring would-be voters to show documentary evidence of their citizenship status to vote in federal elections.

Alongside former President Donald Trump, Speaker Mike Johnson announced on Friday that House Republicans would propose legislation requiring individuals to show documentary proof of citizenship when registering to vote for federal elections.

Rolling Stone called the legislation “redundant” and said noncitizens voting is “already illegal.”

MSNBC’s Steve Benen claimed Johnson and Trump “are pushing a ban on non-citizen voting, which (a) almost never happens; and (b) is already illegal.”

NPR ran the headline “Republicans aim to stop noncitizen voting in federal elections. It’s already illegal,” referring in the story to a “myth that immigrants are exerting undue influence on American elections.” NPR further claimed “federal law requires voters to provide a unique identification number when they register to vote and because that is usually either a driver’s license or Social Security number, election officials can usually work with those agencies to verify citizenship status.”

NBC News published a piece titled “Trump and Mike Johnson zero in on noncitizen voting. It’s already illegal and very rare.” The article, however, almost immediately admits that noncitizens can vote in certain local elections.

“It is already a crime to register or vote as a noncitizen in all state and federal elections, though Washington, D.C., and a handful of municipalities in California, Maryland and Vermont allow noncitizen voting in local elections,” NBC News’ Jane C. Timm wrote.

The Associated Press declared that “Noncitizen voting isn’t an issue in federal elections, regardless of conspiracy theories.”

But just because something is “illegal” doesn’t mean it’s not happening, or that the law is being enforced. You might outlaw lying, but unless the law includes a means of determining whether a person is lying, the law will be largely toothless.

The AP continued:

There isn’t any indication that noncitizens vote in significant numbers in federal elections or that they will in the future. It’s already a crime for them to do so. And we know it’s not a danger because various states have examined their rolls and found very few noncitizen voters.

Various states may have “found very few noncitizen voters” because the form that states are required to use when registering voters for federal elections lacks any safeguards.

Federal voter registration forms do not require documentary proof of citizenship (DPOC). Instead, an individual who registers to vote simply checks a box affirming he is a U.S. citizen.

[READ NEXT: Not A Single Democrat Witness In Congress Agreed Only Citizens Should Vote In Federal Elections]

States that try to require DPOC are often met with federal roadblocks, as Arizona was — but many corporate media outlets either glossed over that fact or left it out entirely.

Arizona voters approved a law in 2004 that required DPOC to vote, but a 2013 Supreme Court ruling forced the state to accept the federal voter registration form with its lax requirement that applicants simply check a box claiming citizenship. Arizona responded by allowing voters who could not prove their citizenship to register as “federal-only” voters, but it was forced in 2018 to “not only accept federal-only applications lacking proof of citizenship but also grant a federal-only registration to applicants who used a state form but couldn’t provide proof of citizenship,” as my colleague M.D. Kittle explained.

A federal judge recently ruled that Arizona has an interest in keeping noncitizens off its voter rolls and upheld its DPOC requirement for registrants using the state form. But a few months earlier in September, the same judge also struck down state laws that required DPOC to vote in presidential elections and via mail.

In the 2020 election, 11,600 voters voted using a federal-only ballot, according to AZ Free News. President Joe Biden won the state by 10,457 votes.

Furthermore, while the proposed legislation from House Republicans would apply to federal voter registration forms, corporate media are incorrect in suggesting that noncitizen voting is “already illegal” everywhere in America.

Noncitizens in San Francisco can also vote in school board elections if they have a child under 19 living in the city. Certain municipalities in Maryland and Vermont also allow noncitizens to vote. And in New York City, a judge recently struck down a law that sought to open up the city’s municipal elections to more than 800,000 noncitizens.

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