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Opinion: Why Letting Noncitizens Vote In U.S. Elections Is A Very Bad, No Good, Terrible Idea

Vote early sticker
Vote early sticker | Image by Zen Rial/Getty Images

This piece of commentary ran in The Wall Street Journal. It was authored by Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s GOP secretary of state.

I believe American citizens should decide American elections. A majority of voters on both sides of the aisle agree. Unfortunately, a small cohort of liberal activists is intent on making noncitizen voting a reality.

Progressives have pushed for such measures in California, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Vermont and New York. In Georgia, activists have opposed common-sense citizenship checks during registration. Yet when Donald Trump recently endorsed Speaker Mike Johnson’s efforts to require citizenship verification before registration, liberals and their fellow travelers in the media suggested that noncitizen voting isn’t a pertinent issue. Americans shouldn’t fall for the charade.

This effort wasn’t successful in Georgia. My office recently went to court to defend our state’s citizenship-verification procedures against a lawsuit filed by the New Georgia Project, Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda and others. The groups alleged that our election-integrity measures were unconstitutional and pushed for the state to rely on a person’s word, via an oath, when registering to vote. The judge ruled in our favor, following a similar ruling in a separate suit brought by Stacey Abrams’s Fair Fight Action in 2022.

Liberals want us to believe that noncitizen voting doesn’t happen, and yet they continue to sue to make it harder to prevent. Why? They know they need only one left-leaning judge to overturn a state law.

Ensuring that only American citizens vote in American elections is a straightforward requirement for maintaining election security and public trust. Common-sense procedures to verify that voters are American citizens are popular across the electorate. The left’s obsession with dispensing with such protections doesn’t make sense. Liberals won’t admit they want noncitizens to vote but nevertheless fight procedures that seek to prevent it at every turn.

In Georgia, we verify the citizenship of those registering to vote via Real ID, documentation the state already has on file. If prospective voters’ documents don’t prove their citizenship, we take further steps, including using the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements database. If we still can’t verify citizenship, they must establish it with election officials before voting at the polls.

It’s true that noncitizen voting is rare nationwide, but that is owing largely to efforts to implement citizenship-verification procedures. Without such measures, noncitizens would be able to register with relative ease. Preventing even a small amount of fraud—particularly in states whose elections are decided by narrow margins—is necessary.

The more certainty we can provide to the public that their votes won’t be canceled by an illegal vote from a noncitizen, the less doubt others can cast on our elections. We need stronger laws to verify that only American citizens vote for the same reason we lock our doors at night even if we’ve never suffered a break in. As Mr. Johnson considers federal voting-integrity protections, he should follow the Peach State’s footsteps.

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