President Barack Obama’s action to protect some 5 million illegal immigrants from deportation paves the way for them to break the law by registering to vote and casting ballots in elections, according to the secretaries of state in Kansas and Ohio. The Republican secretaries of state say the driver’s licenses and Social Security cards that will be doled out to the illegal immigrants can in turn be used to register to vote -- and their states don’t have the capacity to check whether they are legal voters. It is against the law for noncitizens to vote in elections.
In Kansas, motor vehicle bureau workers routinely ask customers if they want to register to vote, but the state doesn’t have the means to check whether the resident is a citizen, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told the Washington Times, adding that illegal immigrants who were caught voting have used that excuse in the past. “It’s a guarantee it will happen,” he said.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted also sounded the alarm on the possibility of illegal immigrants voting in elections when he testified to the House Subcommittee on National Security. “For an estimated four to five million noncitizens, the president’s executive actions provide access to Social Security numbers and driver’s licenses. These are the same documents that federal law requires the states to recognize as valid forms of identification for voter registration,” he said, according to a statement posted on his website. “We want to find the least intrusive solution to closing this loophole without making it unnecessarily difficult to register or vote. While opinions may vary as to the best solution for this issue, one thing is clear: We cannot solve this federal problem solely at the state level alone.”
In the 2012 presidential election, 291 noncitizens were registered to vote in Ohio and 17 voted in the election, according to Husted. But he said those numbers will be on the rise, and it will be difficult to catch illegal immigrants who sign up to vote after being protected from deportation. “However, without federal assistance we cannot perform the same cross match on registrations using Social Security numbers. As a result, these executive actions could significantly increase the potential pool of illegal registrations in Ohio and around the country,” he said.
But Democrats don’t believe illegal immigrants will wind up registering or voting in large numbers because they could be deported. “My experience is they don’t come here to vote, and they don’t come here to drive. They come here for a better life,” said Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.