Many non-citizens don't register or vote, but so many do that it could change the outcome of some of the neck-and-neck Senate races as Republicans and Democrats fight to gain control over it, warns a new article in the journal Electoral Studies.
While some experts believe that there are not many non-citizens who would risk jail, fines, and even deportation for voting, the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law said in a recent report,
the Electoral Studies article used data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study
to provide samples of those who would vote.
"Its large number of observations (32,800 in 2008 and 55,400 in 2010) provide sufficient samples of the non-immigrant sub-population, with 339 non-citizen respondents in 2008 and 489 in 2010. For the 2008 CCES, we also attempted to match respondents to voter files so that we could verify whether they actually voted," the Journal reports.
The data determined that more than 14 percent of non-citizens in both samples showed they were registered to vote, and did cast ballots, with 6.4 percent voting in 2008 and 2.2 percent in 2010.
And with non-citizens favoring Democrats, President Barack Obama took more than 80 percent of the non-citizen vote in the CCES 2008 sample, Journal researchers Jesse Richman, the Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Old Dominion University and director of the ODU Social Science Research Center, and David Earnest, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Old Dominion University and Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies in the College of Arts and Letters, explain in The Washington Post.
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., won his 2008 election by just 312 votes, and that the votes cast by 0.65 percent of his state's non-citizens may account for that win, they said. In addition, the found that three-quarters of the non-citizens who were asked to provide photo ID before voting still ended up casting a ballot.
The research also found that the less educated a non-citizen was, the more likely he or she was to cast a vote, hinting "at a link between non-citizen voting and lack of awareness about legal barriers."
However, the researchers said they can't answer if the United States should legalize non-citizens' votes or find policies to restrict it, "but this research should move that debate a step closer to a common set of facts."
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