A new, yet-to-be-released study indicates that illegal votes cast by non-U.S. citizens could determine the outcome of those midterm races that are running at a near-dead heat. This is of particular concern in a year when the GOP has a real chance to wrest control of the U.S. Senate from the Democrats–in a fair election.
The study further finds that 2014 won’t be a first–this has been going on for some time, according to Old Dominion University political scientists Jesse Richman and David Earnest, who will publish their findings in Electoral Studies, an international journal.
Although their findings won’t be released until later, the authors gave a preview of coming attractions in The Washington Post‘s “Monkey Cage” blog.
Using data gleaned from the Cooperative Congressional Election study, Richman and Earnest discovered that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in the 2008 elections. Readers may recall a significance of 2008, other than the presidential outcome. As the Washington Examiner reported:
One example could be the the 2008 Minnesota Senate race that saw Al Franken elected the 60th Democrat in the upper chamber. Franken was elected by a margin of 312 votes, and the authors pointed out that margin is less than a percent of the potential illegally voting non-citizens.
With Franken’s victory, the Democrats were assured a 60-vote, filibuster-free supermajority in the Senate for the next two years, thus giving the new Democratic president, Barack Obama, free reign.
“Our research cannot answer whether the United States should move to legalize some electoral participation by non-citizens as many other countries do, and as some U.S. states did for more than 100 years, or find policies that more effectively restrict it,” the professors said. “But this research should move that debate a step closer to a common set of facts.”
The Post published Richman and Earnest’s blog just three days after the Winston-Salem Journal reported that North Carolina election officials had discovered 145 names on its rolls belonging to a single class of ineligible voters–individuals residing here under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACAs.
And the 145 DACAs there could be the tip of North Carolina’s iceberg. Although DACA residents are prohibited from voting, they’re nonetheless eligible to obtain a license to drive. That deserved a closer look at the state’s Department of Motor Vehicle records. The Journal reported:
Nearly 10,000 names on the rolls are tagged by the DMV as “legally present,” according to elections and transportation officials. But that doesn’t mean that all 10,000 are ineligible to vote at this time. These are license holders who were not U.S. citizens when they got a license. They may have been green-card holders, foreign workers or foreign students, for example.
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Earlier this month, State Board of Elections officials sampled about 1,600 of the 10,000 names, [SBOE spokesman Josh] Lawson said. They cross-checked the names against a U.S. Department of Homeland Security database, known as SAVE, and found that 94 percent of those 1,600 are in fact U.S. citizens, Lawson said.
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Still, if 94 percent are U.S. citizens, then 6 percent are ineligible. If that percentage holds against the whole list of nearly 10,000 names, then about 600 people on the voter rolls would be ineligible to vote.
Newly-published NBC News/Marist polls indicate too-close-to-call U.S. Senate races in five key states–Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas and significantly, given the above, North Carolina. NBC News reported:
And in North Carolina, incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., and GOP opponent Thom Tillis are tied at 43 percent each. That’s down from Hagan’s four-point lead earlier this month. Libertarian Sean Haugh gets 7 percent of the vote.
The fear and possibly the conclusion is that control of the Senate won’t be determined by Joe and Joan Citizen, but rather by Juan and Juanita Ilegal. And that would be a travesty.