Alabama Senate Republicans Introduce Bill to Prevent Non US Citizens From Voting in Federal Elections

Alabama Senate Republicans Introduce Bill to Prevent Non US Citizens From Voting in Federal Elections

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Senate Republicans in Alabama introduced new legislation on Dec. 12 aimed at promoting election security by ensuring non-American citizens are not able to vote in federal elections.

Known as the “Citizen Ballot Protection Act,” the measure was introduced by Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) and is the senate companion to Bill H.R.4316, which was introduced by Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) in June.

Under the measure, states would be given the power to ensure that individuals provide proof of American citizenship when registering to vote via mail-in application.

Specifically, the bill would amend the National Voting Rights Act (NVRA) to put in place proof of citizenship requirement for both the federal mail voter registration form and any state mail voter registration forms.

The bill relates to Section 6 of the NVRA, which requires that each state accept and use the federal mail voter registration application forms developed by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission but allows states to develop their own voter registration forms provided they meet all of the same criteria the NVRA requires for the federal mail voter registration form.

However, the Republican lawmakers said the Election Assistance Commission and the courts have begun interpreting the prohibition on “any requirement for notarization or other formal authentication” as “precluding efforts by some States to include a requirement of documentary proof of American citizenship with the federal form.”

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They pointed to Arizona, where in 2013, the Supreme Court held that the state could continue requiring proof of citizenship in its state elections, but must accept federal forms to register Arizona voters for federal elections.

Voting in Elections Is ‘Sacred Right’

However, former Gov. Doug Ducey last year signed into law legislation to ensure only U.S. citizens vote in elections held in the state.

The co-sponsors of the legislation include all Republican members of the Senate Rules Committee, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Rules Committee Ranking Member Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), and Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.)

In a statement announcing the newly introduced legislation, Ms. Britt, a member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, said voting in U.S. elections is a “sacred right that must solely be limited to American citizens,” and called her measure “commonsense.”

“To allow States to uphold this principle should be simple commonsense, ” she said. “We are seeing certain cities across our nation begin to openly allow noncitizens to vote in local elections. This effectively disenfranchises hardworking American citizens, insults those American citizens who came to our country legally and took the time and effort to go through the citizenship process, and undermines faith in our entire electoral system – which is a cornerstone of our nation that we cannot allow to crumble.”

 Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) speaks during the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the Special Diabetes Program in Washington on July 11, 2023. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images for JDRF)
Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) speaks during the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the Special Diabetes Program in Washington on July 11, 2023. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images for JDRF)

Law ‘Should Not Be Controversial’


The senator added that preventing noncitizens from voting in U.S. elections “should not be controversial.”

“States have the legal right to prevent noncitizens – including illegal migrants and official representatives of foreign adversaries – from voting in State and Federal elections,” she concluded.

Meanwhile, Mr. Palmer said the American people “deserve an election system with impeccable integrity” and that both he and Ms. Britt’s legislation will provide a solution to protect the vote of American citizens.

“Her companion legislation will help stop the steady march toward allowing noncitizens to vote in elections around the country. Allowing noncitizens the ability to vote creates endless opportunities for fraud, which will counteract restoring faith in the American election process. This is unacceptable. I look forward to seeing our bills pass in both chambers of Congress,” the lawmaker said.

Mr. Palmer’s bill passed the House Committee on Administration in November.

The bill comes as Washington, D.C. is set to allow noncitizens who are at least 18 on Election Day, who have lived in the district for at least 30 days prior to the election, and who haven’t been found by a court of law to be ineligible to vote, to cast a ballot in local elections, beginning in 2024.
In recent years, cities in Maryland, Vermont, and New York have also passed measures extending voting rights in local elections to noncitizens, although the legislation in the latter was ruled unconstitutional by a New York Supreme Court judge in June.

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