Would HR 1 Ensure Millions of ‘Illegal Immigrants’ Are Registered to Vote?

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As Democrats within the U.S. House of Representatives voted to cross a voting rights and anti-corruption bill, former Vice President Mike Pence expressed his opposition to the invoice by an op-ed in The Daily Signal, an internet site run by the conservative assume tank Heritage Foundation. In the March 3, 2021, article he echoed a quantity of deceptive claims which were utilized by conservatives to criticize the invoice prior to now. 

Since the mob violence of Jan. 6 on the U.S. Capitol, the place rioters called for Pence’s hanging for not attempting to overturn the outcomes of the election, Pence had been comparatively quiet. Now on this essay, titled “Election Integrity Is a National Imperative,” Pence proclaimed: “After an election marked by significant voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law, I share the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of the 2020 election.” We ought to word that prime authorities officers called the November 2020 elections the “most secure in American history.”

Among many assertions that prompted swift criticism and fact-checking was Pence’s claim that the invoice would guarantee “millions of illegal immigrants are quickly registered to vote”:

The invoice would drive states to undertake common mail-in ballots, early voting, same-day voter registration, on-line voter registration, and automated voter registration for any particular person listed in state and federal authorities databases, such because the Department of Motor Vehicles and welfare workplaces, guaranteeing duplicate registrations and that hundreds of thousands of unlawful immigrants are shortly registered to vote.

This will not be a brand new (*1*). It got here up earlier than in 2019 when the invoice, titled H.R. 1 or the For the People Act, first labored its manner by Congress. We beforehand lined variations of this declare (additionally false). 

The 2021 invoice constantly asserts the requirement that individuals registering to vote should affirm their citizenship, and it doesn’t change the legislation that prohibits non-citizens from voting. Contributing businesses in every state which are aiding the state election officers by registering all eligible people who’re served by that company are required to submit particular details about every particular person, together with, “information showing that the individual is a citizen of the United States” (see page 54 of the invoice). Contributing businesses outlined within the invoice are wide-ranging and embody the state’s motorized vehicle authority, the Social Security Administration, and even “The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, but only with respect to individuals who have completed the naturalization process.” The invoice additionally says that businesses are required to inform solely U.S. residents that they’re being registered to vote (see page 52).

Federal legislation nonetheless says it’s unlawful for non-citizens to vote in a federal election, and any violations of this legislation might lead to a high-quality or imprisonment. 

The invoice requires states to permit any eligible voters to vote by mail in federal elections, and to use Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) for federal elections nationwide. This is completely different from “forcing” states to undertake “universal mail-in ballots,” in that states aren’t expected to ship out ballots that voters haven’t requested, however solely that voters ought to have the possibility to submit their ballots by the mail. We fact-checked in 2020 how mail-in ballots have little to no threat of voter fraud. For the 2020 elections, many states already had common mail-in ballots (whereas a number of expanded its use in consequence of the coronavirus pandemic), and as of December 2020, 18 states and the District of Columbia had already enacted AVR. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, implementing AVR universally might assist register up to 50 million new eligible voters, make registration rolls extra correct, get monetary savings, and reduce down on confusion on the polls.   

There have been situations of errors in states with AVR, like California, the place individuals have been wrongly registered to vote, however these registrations have been instantly canceled. Evidence exhibits that these non-citizen registrations have been by accident and the numbers of non-citizens who ended up on the voter rolls have been comparatively small. These points additionally befell in Pennsylvania, a state with out AVR. 

In basic, claims that “illegal immigrants” can vote within the U.S. elections in large discernable numbers are not often, if ever, true. Nor is the declare that implementing the above measures would make it simpler for such immigrants to vote, notably when consultants say such measures are supposed to make registration simpler and extra correct. As such, we charge Pence’s claims on the entire as “False.”

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