Despite conspiracy claims, federal elections allow noncitizen voting. For this reason

On Friday, former President Donald Trump revisited his favorite topic: immigrants voting illegally in federal elections. At the former president's Florida estate, House Speaker Mike Johnson announced he will file a bill to ban non-citizens from voting. Trump falsely blamed immigrants for his 2016 popular vote loss and created a panel to investigate. The group folded without finding a noncitizen vote.  

He and other Republicans have increased their conspiratorial assertions about Biden's southern border migrant flood, claiming Democrats are letting them in to populate voting registers. Immigration and voting seem complicated, but the theory is simple. No evidence suggests noncitizens vote in federal elections or will in the future. They're already breaking the law. Many states have identified few noncitizen votes, so it's not a threat.  

Noncitizens have voted, although it's rare. Legal immigrants who incorrectly believe they can vote are often involved, say investigators. Johnson responded that “we cannot wait for widespread fraud to occur.” However, a previous crackdown on noncitizen voting could have removed thousands of citizens from the voting registers. Reasons why noncitizen voting doesn't threaten federal elections or change federal law.  

Federal law requires all voter registration forms to warn signers that they must declare under penalty of perjury that they are U.S. citizens. That usually works. Non-citizen immigrants don't want to break the law because it could affect their ability to stay or become citizens.  

Some Republicans have long complained that federal voter eligibility regulations don't need further checks. Johnson promised to introduce laws requiring citizenship evidence before registering to vote, but he did not elaborate. This measure is unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, and its sole impact would be to exploit it as a campaign issue against Democrats.  

Democrats worry that Texas' 2019 effort to identify noncitizen voters incorrectly flagged tens of thousands of U.S. residents as unable to vote. Federal judge prohibited Texas from enforcing the statute, and the secretary of state resigned. That illustrates the risks of adding identification checks to catch unusual events.  

HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM? Noncitizen voting in federal elections is unusual, according to all evidence. Foreigners can vote in municipal elections if the jurisdiction allows it, but not federal elections. Some cities, like San Francisco and the District of Columbia, let non-citizen immigrants vote in school board and city council races. Check out conservative-leaning states for noncitizen voting issues. First, “noncitizen” voting, not immigrant voting. Because some immigrants have become naturalized U.S. citizens and can vote under the Constitution.  

North Carolina audited its 2016 elections to prevent fraud. Legal immigrants who were not citizens voted 41 times. Out of 4.8 million votes. According to the state's election board, the unlawful ballots didn't affect any election, even the smallest municipal race. Later, Trump's DOJ charged 19 immigrants with illegally voting in North Carolina.  

Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger audited voter rolls in 2022 for noncitizens. His staff found 1,634 applications to register, but election officials caught all and none were registered to vote. After 2016, the liberal Brennan Center for Justice questioned 44 election officials in Arizona, California, and Texas, some of the most populous and immigrant-heavy states. Of 23.5 million votes cast in those places, only 30 were possible noncitizen ballots.  

One researcher extrapolated the amount of noncitizens voting from internet poll data and found more than the reviews have discovered. Even Professor Jesse Richman of Old Dominion University, who Trump quoted in 2016, acknowledged Trump abused his work and that noncitizen voting was not high enough to flip a state against the former president.  

ANYONE CHANGING LAWS ON THIS? Since the 2020 election and Trump's claims about losing due to fraud, nine states have passed new rules to restrict noncitizen voting, and 16 are exploring more, according to the left-leaning Voting Rights Lab.  

In 2021, the Republican-controlled legislature in Texas reintroduced a provision that had wrongly labeled tens of thousands of U.S. citizens as unlawful voters. Civil rights groups sued again to stop it. The Republican National Committee, which Trump recently took over, is suing to maintain the provision.  

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