In the months leading up to the presidential election, a number of observers expressed concern that lax voter identification laws or procedures were resulting in aliens enrolled on state voter registration lists, thus enabling them to vote illegally. At least one survey of voter rolls in Virginia seemed to bear this out.
This concern about aliens illegally voting is not a new phenomenon. Hans von Spakovsky, alone and with colleagues, has spotlighted the issue with some regularity in the last several years (see here and here). At the time of Democrat Al Franken's first run for the U.S. Senate, some observers openly questioned whether illegal voters tipped the election in his favor by just enough to put him over the top (see here and here). Sadly, nothing was done to dig into the affair and settle the allegations one way or the other.
That close election highlights exactly what's wrong with taking a laissez faire attitude toward the matter, whether it is a subject of great or minimal abuse. Yet nothing has been done to put the questions to bed. In fact, left-leaning publications have consistently pooh-poohed the notion and Democrats, even as they claim that voter fraud is as unlikely as getting struck by lightning, have consistently done everything they can to ensure that no close or systematic examination is ever conducted. This allows them to claim with perfect circular logic that there is no empirical evidence to substantiate concern over aliens voting illegally in federal elections.
President Obama, always one to engage in verbal mischief even as he criticizes others' perceived moral failings, appeared to encourage aliens to vote illegally in the recent election when, just days before the polling booths opened, he was interviewed by actress Gina Rodriguez who asked what would happen if someone illegally present in the United States voted. Obama assured her that were someone illegally in the United States to vote, no one would come after them because of the sanctity of the voting booth.
Question: So if I vote, will Immigration know where I live? Will they come for my family and deport us?
Answer: Not true, and the reason is, first of all, when you vote, you are a citizen yourself.
Huh? That's hooey, of course. Federal law provides criminal penalties for aliens who vote. Take a look at 18 U.S.C. Section 611 (voting by aliens). While you're at it, look also at 18 U.S.C. Section 911 (false claim to United States citizenship), which is relevant because in registering to vote, an alien would have to fraudulently claim to be a U.S. citizen. There are formidable civil penalties as well: Aliens, including green card holders, who falsely claim U.S. citizenship, or who vote illegally, are subject to deportation from the United States. Take a look, respectively, at Sections 237(a)(3)(D) and 237(a)(6) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
We are now post-election. Donald Trump has won based on a platform of strong enforcement of our criminal and immigration laws. Upon taking the oath of office and obtaining confirmation of his cabinet nominees, he will have as his attorney general the redoubtable Sen. Jeff Sessions. It's time to cut to the chase. Let's find out just exactly how prevalent alien voter fraud is. This doesn't need to be done in the first hundred days, nor even the second hundred, but it should be done.
The attorney general should direct his U.S. attorney offices to work with ICE and FBI agents in obtaining voter registration rolls in electronic format. If examining the whole universe of voter registration rolls for all states and territories is too much, then sampling can be undertaken. These electronic records can be run by computers on a match basis against Homeland Security databases comparing not just names but all biographic data. Apparent matches can be examined further to eliminate false positives. When those are gone and the residual matches remain, it is time for further comparisons using human resources, drilling down until the truth of the matter is revealed.
It goes without saying that this must be done with delicacy, tact, and decorum, and be designed by experts to avoid the taint of claims that the effort has been undertaken in a way that results in ethnic profiling. But it should be done, and aliens who have voted illegally should, at minimum, face removal proceedings. If they aren't even green card holders, but are residing in the United States illegally, they should be prosecuted and then deported.
If, as many Democrats and liberals have steadfastly maintained, voter fraud is scarcer than hen's teeth, they will be able to bask in the glow of an "I told you so." Either way, the matter can finally be put to bed — and Americans can retire at night assured that the sanctity of the voting booth has been confirmed, and secure in the knowledge that their votes really do count for something.