FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Secretary of State Husted to President Obama: Executive Actions on Immigration Increase Potential for Non-Citizen Registrations & Voting
COLUMBUS – In a recent letter to President Barack Obama, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted raised concerns that the President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions may have implications on the integrity of elections. These executive actions increase the potential that non-citizens may illegally register and vote by granting millions more access to the valid forms of identification used to register to vote.
“As chief elections official in a key swing state, I take very seriously my responsibility to make it both easy to vote and hard to cheat by ensuring that only eligible voters may participate in federal, state and local elections,” Secretary Husted said. “Despite our diligence in cleaning up Ohio’s voter registration rolls over the past four years, the President’s executive actions have expanded a loophole and made it more difficult for us to determine if potential registrants meet the primary standard for voting – U.S. citizenship.”
Under federal law, any person with a valid Social Security number or driver’s license can register to vote, provided they attest to their eligibility. The recent executive actions would expand the risk for illegal voter registrations in Ohio and other states by non-citizen voters who have valid forms of identification and who willingly or negligently affirm their eligibility to vote.
Should the executive actions remain in force, Secretary Husted is asking that President Obama’s Administration provide state elections officials real-time access to accurate, searchable, electronic databases of non-citizens who have valid Social Security numbers so that they may distinguish between citizens and lawfully-present non-citizens.
In his letter to President Obama, Secretary Husted noted that the ongoing debate over voter fraud and voter access has bred significant hyperbole from across the political spectrum, eroding voter confidence. After issuing the first statewide report of voter fraud and voter suppression, and conducting a thorough review of Ohio’s voting rolls, Secretary Husted has consistently maintained that while voter fraud does exist, it is rare and he has taken many steps to modernize Ohio’s elections system to prevent fraud in the future.
For example, following the 2012 Presidential Election and through a data-sharing partnership with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Secretary Husted determined that in Ohio, 291 non-citizens were registered to vote and 17 had actually cast ballots. The 17 were referred for further investigation and potential prosecution and the rest were sent letters to cancel their Ohio voter registrations.
“We have been careful to uncover the facts, to be transparent with the data, and then to take reasonable steps to improve our elections system and boost voter confidence,” Secretary Husted said. “The President’s executive actions have the potential to roll back progress we have made in Ohio. It is my hope that he will work with us to minimize their impact on the integrity of our elections.”
Letter to President Obama