US Election: Republicans Push Legislation Targeting Noncitizen Voting, Despite Limited Impact Why?
US Election: Republicans Push Legislation Targeting Noncitizen Voting, Despite Limited Impact Why?

The U.S.House Republicans are advancing legislation aimed at curbing voting by noncitizens, a move they say is necessary to safeguard election integrity and address what they describe as illegal voting by immigrants. The effort includes rolling back a Washington, D.C. law that permits noncitizen residents to vote in local elections and requiring states to obtain proof of citizenship in person for voter registration.

The legislation, which is expected to face opposition in the Democratic-led Senate and likely veto by President Joe Biden, is seen as a symbolic effort by Republicans to draw attention to their concerns about election security.

Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that widespread voter fraud and illegal voting by noncitizens have affected election outcomes in favor of Democrats. House Republicans have echoed these claims as they push for stricter voting laws.

Debate Over Noncitizen Voting Rights

In the United States, more than a dozen cities and towns, primarily in states like Maryland, Vermont, and California, allow noncitizens to vote in local elections. Advocates argue that these residents contribute to local economies, pay taxes similar to citizens, and should have a say in local governance.

However, despite local measures allowing noncitizen voting, very few noncitizens actually participate in elections. For example, in Washington, D.C., only about 500 noncitizens were registered to vote as of recent data, out of over 400,000 registered voters in the District.

Facts and Statistics

While noncitizens are allowed to vote in some local elections, they are prohibited from voting in federal elections, including those for president and Congress. Studies have shown that instances of noncitizen voting in federal elections are extremely rare, with one study finding only 30 potential incidents out of 23.5 million votes cast in the 2016 presidential election.

Experts emphasize that noncitizens have significant disincentives to vote illegally, including the risk of deportation and criminal charges. Moreover, claims by some Republicans about widespread illegal noncitizen voting have been debunked, with experts citing flawed data and unscientific methodologies.

Despite efforts by Republicans to restrict noncitizen voting, experts and election officials maintain that existing laws and procedures are effective in preventing ineligible individuals from voting in federal elections. The debate over voting rights for noncitizens is likely to continue amid ongoing efforts to ensure the integrity of American elections.

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