There is little doubt that election integrity measures are essential to clean elections. In support of that goal, Judicial Watch recently joined with the Allied Educational Foundation to file an amici curiae
brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of Arizona’s and Kansas’ efforts to add proof-of-citizenship requirements to a federal voter registration form, Kris W. Kobach, et al., v. U. S. Election Assistance Commission, et al.
The brief argues:
"If states cannot verify the citizenship of those registering to vote, citizens may have their votes cancelled out by unlawful ballots cast in the names of non-citizens. The mere threat of this outcome will undermine voters’ confidence that elections are being conducted fairly and honestly, discouraging those voters from voting at all and thereby burdening their right to vote."
The Obama administration has shown a desire to register as many non-citizens as possible. As of April 2014, Immigration and Customs Enforcement had released
165,900 criminal aliens into the United States. This figure includes aliens convicted of homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated assault.
The Justice Department has pressured states to register greater numbers of voters on public assistance, and ignored federal law requiring states to clean up voter registration lists. It has also opposed voter ID laws. Now the administration is preventing states from enforcing laws requiring that individuals registering to vote provide proof of citizenship.
In August 2013, Kansas and Arizona filed a complaint against the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas to force the agency to require proof of citizenship in the state-specific instructions on the National Mail Voter Registration Form (the federal form).
The District Court ruled in favor of the states, but in November 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled the Obama administration could block state officials from requiring such proof. In March, Arizona and Kansas filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court asking it to review and overturn the Tenth Circuit ruling.
This case raises important constitutional issues, because states are constitutionally permitted to establish voter qualifications.
The Supreme Court ruled
(Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona) that “the Elections Clause empowers Congress to regulate how federal elections are held, but not who may vote in them . . . Since the power to establish voting requirements is of little value without the power to enforce those requirements, Arizona is correct that it would raise serious constitutional doubts if a federal statute precluded a State from obtaining the information necessary to enforce its voter qualifications.”
U.S. Census Bureau data indicates that seven percent of the U.S. population lacks citizenship (approximately 22 million lawful and unlawful aliens). States working to ensure only eligible citizens vote, therefore, are presented with a real problem. A study published in 2014 concluded that about 25 percent of U.S. non-citizens were registered to vote in 2010, and that 6.4 percent voted in 2008.
These illegal, non-citizen voters, the study suggested, were decisive in Pres. Obama’s 2008 election victory and in ensuring Democrats could enact Obamacare. The researchers noted many non-eligible voters in voter ID states possessed sufficient ID to vote, suggesting voter ID laws alone may not prevent fraud.
Judicial Watch’s amici brief emphasizes that election integrity efforts are essential to combating fraud and reassuring Americans that elections are fair:
"The Tenth Circuit’s decision threatens to diminish Americans’ confidence in their own elections. The harm that results will be significant regardless of the frequency with which voter fraud occurs. A bipartisan panel convened to examine the existence and impact of voter fraud, the Carter-Baker Commission, had this to say [in 2005] about the frequency of voter fraud relative to its “significance”:
"While the Commission is divided on the magnitude of voter fraud — with some believing the problem is widespread and others believing that it is minor — there is no doubt that it occurs. The problem, however, is not the magnitude of the fraud. In close or disputed elections, and there are many, a small amount of fraud could make the margin of difference. And second, the perception of possible fraud contributes to low confidence in the system.
"Such “close elections” occur all the time. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted released
remarkable statistics showing that, in 2013, 35 local races and 8 local ballot issues were decided in his state either by one vote, or by the toss of a coin following an electoral tie.
"Illegal voting at any level can change the outcome of elections. And there is no acceptable amount of fraud."
The Supreme Court should step in, follow the Constitution and recognize the constitutional power of the states to ensure secure elections. Kansas and Arizona shouldn’t be alone in upholding the rule of law.
Tom Fitton is the president of Judicial Watch. He is a nationally recognized expert on government corruption. A former talk radio and television host and analyst, Tom is well known across the country as a national spokesperson for the conservative cause. He has been quoted in Time, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and most every other major newspaper in the country. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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