Morning Bell: Should U.S. Citizens Be Allowed to Pick Our Next President?

Conn Carroll /

In 1996 then-Rep. Bob Dornan (R-Calif.) lost to challenger Loretta Sanchez by just 979 votes. After Dornan contested the election, the U.S. House of Representatives claiming the election had been stolen by non-citizen voting. The House eventually dismissed his challenge after the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight identified only 624 invalid votes by non-citizens and another 124 improper absentee ballots.

Those 624 invalid votes were identified only by matching Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) database records on citizen applications with voter roles. The House investigation did not have the resources to detect if any illegal aliens, not in INS databases, had voted. The report concluded: “[I]f there is a significant number of ‘documented aliens’ in INS records, on the Orange County voter registration rolls, how many illegal or undocumented aliens may be registered to vote in Orange County?”

The answer, for the entire nation and not just Orange County, is that we have no way knowing. As former Federal Election Commission member Hans von Spakovsky details in his latest Legal Memorandum due to deficiencies in state law and the failure of federal agencies to comply with federal law, “there are almost no procedures in place that allow election officials to detect, deter, and prevent non-citizens from registering and voting.”

The left, led by the new-media empire Talking Points Memo, has heavily invested in a campaign to deny that illegal voting ever takes place. Liberals love to point out that convictions for voter fraud are rare, but a 2005 GAO report concludes that many district attorneys will not devote resource to prosecuting what they see as a “victimless and non-violent” crime. But this is not just the fault of local officials. Federal agencies make it next to impossible to prosecute possible illegal voting by refusing to cooperate. Von Spakovksy explains that there is “no systematic review of voter registration rolls by states to find non-citizens, and the relevant federal agencies, in direct violation of federal law, refuse to cooperate with state election officials seeking to verify citizenship status of registered voters.”

Across the country, corrupt and partisan left-wing organizations such as ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) conduct mass voter-registration drives that do not attempt to weed out illegal voting applications in any way. Just this week Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax told the Las Vegas Journal Review that “he sees rampant fraud in the 2,000 to 3,000 registrations ACORN turns in every week.” Von Spakovksy reminds us: “Once such aliens are registered, of course, they receive the same encouragement to vote from campaigns’ and parties’ get-out-the-vote programs and advertisements that all other registered voters receive. Political actors have no way to distinguish between individuals who are properly registered and non-citizens who are illegally registered.”

The mantra on the left is always “count every vote.” But every single vote of a non-citizen essentially disenfranchises a law-abiding U.S. citizen. The same GAO report mentioned above notes that in just one U.S. district court, 3% of the 30,000 individuals called for jury duty from voter registration rolls were found not to be U.S. citizens. A 3% margin would have been more than enough to swing the 2000 and 2004 presidential election in key swing states such as Florida and Ohio. It is probably too late to get non-citizens off the roles in time for 2008, but wouldn’t it be nice if U.S. citizens actually got to choose their own president in 2012?

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