Non-citizen immigrants who voted in 2008 and 2010 may have swung elections

Article author: 
Elizabeth Llorente
Article publisher: 
Fox News Latino
Article date: 
29 October 2014
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

Immigrants who are not naturalized, and therefore are ineligible to vote, are casting ballots, according to two Virginia political scientists.

The political scientists, who are professors at Old Dominion University, say their research found that while the number of immigrants who vote despite not being naturalized is relatively small, “enough do that their participation can change the outcome of close races.” ...

The professors, who provided glimpses of their findings in an article they authored for The Washington Post, said that data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study indicated more than 14 percent of non-citizens who took part in the CCES survey were registered to vote in 2008 and 2010. About 6 percent actually voted in 2008, and 2 percent did so in 2010 ...

“Non-citizen votes could have given Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health-care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress” ...

Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington D.C.-based organization that supports tight enforcement, said that it’s no secret that people who are ineligible to vote do so anyway. But Krikorian said that he would like to see more data.

“If the percentages reported in the academic paper are correct, it would mean hundreds of thousands, maybe more than a million, of non-citizens have voted,” Krikorian said to Fox News Latino. “That number seems high to me, and the survey is based on a small sample size, so I’d like to see more research on the question before drawing firm conclusions as to the scope of the problem.”

“But there’s no question it happens, and probably the Motor-Voter law is a big reason for that,” he said.

Such laws, Krikorian said, which were meant to encourage more civic participation by making it easier to register to vote – while doing other things like getting a driver’s license -- have had the unintended consequence of also paving the way for people who are not eligible to cast ballots to do so, sometimes out of confusion.

“If they’re not well-educated, may [legal immigrants who are not naturalized] simply conclude that getting a green card means they’re now citizens,” Krikorian said ...

Krikorian added: “What needs to be done is Motor-Voter needs to be altered to no longer require (or even prohibit) registration as part of the driver’s license process, since all green-card holders can (and obviously should be able to) get licenses,” but “there’s no connection between eligibility to vote and eligibility for a license, so they shouldn’t be bundled together” ...