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house Bill H.R. 1217

Should States Require Voters to Prove They’re U.S. Citizens to Vote in Federal Elections?

Argument in favor

Only American citizens should be casting votes in federal elections, that’s the law. To ensure some aren’t skirting the rules to vote fraudulently, the federal government should require that states get proof of citizenship from registering voters.

ALJimenez18's Opinion
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05/10/2019
Of course. These are US elections we are talking about. Elections for US leaders and laws. Why should anyone who happens to be in the US on Election Day be able to vote? To call this “voter suppression” is ludicrous.
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Karan's Opinion
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05/10/2019
Only the Left can say that making voters prove citizenship is voter suppression
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TexasTRex's Opinion
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05/10/2019
YES! There are too many ineligible and dead people voting. This would at least help one of the issues.
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Argument opposed

This bill is a thinly veiled attempt at voter suppression and is a solution in search of a problem, because it’s rare for a non-citizen to successfully vote in a federal election. States should have their own voter registration rules.

IllWill's Opinion
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05/10/2019
I’m not sure if right wingers like Rep. Bob Gibbs know this or not, but you already have to prove that you’re a citizen in order to register to vote in federal elections! There’s literally no reason to introduce a bill like this other than to promote racist and xenophobic attitudes about immigrants!
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burrkitty's Opinion
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05/10/2019
All of which cost money. That’s a poll tax and it is ILLEGAL. Stop trying to suppress voters with this myth of in person voter fraud. We have been over this. It doesn’t happen. ELECTION fraud happens. Just ask North Carolina Republicans who cheated, got caught, and were indicted.
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DrCindyBean's Opinion
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05/10/2019
Voters are already screened and are known to be citizens with voter registration process. This bill is unnecessary. We don’t have a problem with this issue. trump spews lies about this but really this is not an issue. The biggest issue is citizens who legally can vote being targeted by voter suppression efforts to keep them from voting. The other big issue is gerrymandering.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Administration
    IntroducedFebruary 13th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1217?

This bill — the Ensuring American Voters Act — would prohibit states from registering voters for a federal election unless the individual provides proof that they’re a U.S. citizen. Qualifying documentary evidence would include any of the following (either an original or a photocopy): 1) A certified birth certificate issued by a state or local government; 2) A valid U.S. passport; 3) A Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the State Dept.; 4) A Naturalization Certificate or Certificate of Citizenship issued by the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Impact

Registering voters, particularly those without proof of citizenship; state elections agencies; and the American electorate.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1217

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) reintroduced this bill to improve the security and integrity of federal elections by ensuring that foreign nationals can't register to vote fraudulently and improperly cast ballots. Citing reports of non-citizens registering to vote in Texas, California, and Ohio, Rep. Gibbs said

"Voting is a fundamental responsibility for American citizens, who are the only people that should determine our nation’s elections. Our election systems require security from start to finish, from voter registration to results tabulation. Unfortunately, there are gaps, resulting in thousands of non-citizens registering and illegally voting in American elections.  We can help close one of these gaps by requiring proof of citizenship at the time someone registers to vote. That is what the Ensuring American Voters Act does.  In Ohio alone, nearly 200 recent races were tied or decided by just one vote. Whether it is one vote or thousands, illegal voting dilutes the power of American citizens and can affect the outcome of elections."

When he introduced this bill in the 115th Congress, Rep. Gibbs cited seven indictments for fraudulent voting by foreign nationals in Franklin County, Ohio and 19 indictments in North Carolina from recent elections, and added:

“Only U.S. citizens should be voting in federal elections, yet there are gaps in the voter registration systems that can be exploited. A dozen states and the District of Columbia give illegal aliens the opportunity to obtain drivers’ licenses, with eight of those entities offering voter registration at the time of obtaining a license. To close this gap, I introduced the Ensuring American Voters Act today, which requires proof of citizenship citizenship at the time of registering to vote. This is a matter of protecting the integrity of our elections. We have made substantial investments in protecting our voting systems from foreign influence or corruption. It is time to take steps to stop illegal voting before it happens, rather than dealing with consequences after the fact.”

Last Congress, Credo Action expressed opposition to this bill, calling it “racist” and “voter ID on steroids”, before adding:

“There is absolutely no need for Gibbs’ legislation, because non-citizen voting just doesn’t happen. The Brennan Center for Justice found that non-citizens cast only 0.0001 percent of ballots and the small handful who try end up indicted under existing law. Gibbs’ bill is nothing more than a sham to shift attention away from the foreign governments like Russia and deep-pocketed corporations who are deliberately manipulating elections, perpetuate the voter fraud myth and give red meat to the Republican Party’s anti-immigrant base. You can bet that if it passes, election officials will be asking mostly Black and Brown folks to show their papers.”

When Rep. Gibbs introduced this bill in 2018, Lorain County, Ohio's Board of Elections director, Paul Adams, said voting by non-citizens in Ohio wasn't a widespread problem. While Adams noted that a 2017 investigation by Ohio Secretary of State John Husted's office found 126 instances of non-U.S. citizens casting ballots in the state, he also concluded that it was a drop in the bucket, given that there are over eight million registered voters in Ohio. Adams said"We would love to see that number [of non-citizens voting] be zero, but at this time we are looking at certainly a number of other priorities other than the 126 out of 8 million."

In a 2017 statement, Ohio Secretary of State Husted argued that it's still important to hold people who vote fraudulently accountable, even if the problem isn't widespread. He said"In light of the national discussion about illegal voting it is important to inform our discussions with facts. The fact is voter fraud happens, it is rare and when it happens, we hold people accountable.”

This bill has three Republican cosponsors in the 116th Congress. Last Congress, it had the support of five Republican cosponsors and didn't receive a committee vote.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / YinYang)

AKA

Ensuring American Voters Act of 2019

Official Title

To amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to prohibit a State from registering an individual to vote in elections for Federal office held in the State unless the individual provides documentary proof that the individual is a citizen of the United States.

    Of course. These are US elections we are talking about. Elections for US leaders and laws. Why should anyone who happens to be in the US on Election Day be able to vote? To call this “voter suppression” is ludicrous.
    Like (113)
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    I’m not sure if right wingers like Rep. Bob Gibbs know this or not, but you already have to prove that you’re a citizen in order to register to vote in federal elections! There’s literally no reason to introduce a bill like this other than to promote racist and xenophobic attitudes about immigrants!
    Like (246)
    Follow
    Share
    All of which cost money. That’s a poll tax and it is ILLEGAL. Stop trying to suppress voters with this myth of in person voter fraud. We have been over this. It doesn’t happen. ELECTION fraud happens. Just ask North Carolina Republicans who cheated, got caught, and were indicted.
    Like (135)
    Follow
    Share
    Voters are already screened and are known to be citizens with voter registration process. This bill is unnecessary. We don’t have a problem with this issue. trump spews lies about this but really this is not an issue. The biggest issue is citizens who legally can vote being targeted by voter suppression efforts to keep them from voting. The other big issue is gerrymandering.
    Like (123)
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    Share
    Only the Left can say that making voters prove citizenship is voter suppression
    Like (64)
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    YES! There are too many ineligible and dead people voting. This would at least help one of the issues.
    Like (63)
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    This is a stupid bill designed to provide an excuse to harass black and brown voters at the polls, with the overall goal of restricting the vote which would favor Republican candidates. Fraudulent voting is a non-issue, but since elections are designated in the Constitution to be handled by the states, those states that insist that fraudulent voting is a problem are welcome to pass local and state legislation if they feel it is necessary. We do not need a law at the national level.
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    Republicans continue to try to put more roadblocks in the voting process.
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    This is a no-brainer. Of course we should have voter ID laws. Calling voter ID in this day and age a form of suppression is a myth. People will still squeak through as there is big money in issuing fake birth certificates for illegals. There should also be a caveat that if caught, it's straight to ICE and deported immediately.
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    Yes. Citizenship matters. One vote per citizen, and none for anyone else, including felons in, or out of prison.
    Like (42)
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    If something such as this were passed, Vote by mail and all absentee voting would need to be stopped, placing huge obstacles in the way of millions of voters. There would never be an opportunity for e-voting if it became secure. Instead it would require massive lines at polls to vote with questionable voting machines which may or may not be tampered with once again producing questionable results. This is something working people and the sick, elderly and handicapped cannot do. All because of fear, when their has never been a significant problem with non-citizens voting, EVER. This measure would put too great a burden on voters, states and the system, substantially obstructing the vote which I am certain is the point of ‘this exercise in idiocy to begin with. I have a drivers license with a gold star on it saying I’ve registered to vote. That’s all you’re getting from me. What’s next GOP? Tattoos? Should my representatives vote for this measure, rest assured that even if I have to drag a hospital bed into line, I will vote you out of office.
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    Of course, the right to vote is sacred, reserved for law abiding citizens only
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    I just found out that my Father and Mother, along with 2 of my brothers voted Democrat. They never would have done that when they were alive.
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    If you really cared about lawbreakers citizens united would be scrapped along with Trumpian like white collar crimes that steal billions from voters like most of us. For that matter Trump has stolen, lied, cheat, corrupted just about everything he’s touched. Good ole red blooded Americans are who’s to blame for this crisis we’re in. You want to make America great again then first we need to dump Trump.
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    Unless we are going to make getting an id or birth certificate free and easy this is just a poll tax against the poor or those that live in rural areas The republicans want to make voting harder for poc and the poor Only way they can win
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    10-15 years ago, this would be an obvious yes from everyone. Now that the weak minded have been warped by identity politics, welfare state promotion, victimhood culture, & fed the false notion that the white man & America exist to oppress minorities & women, you get 50K+ illegals voting in Texas since ‘99. Weird they come to this racist nation.
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    When leftists are losing a debate, they immediately call anyone who disagrees with them “racists” etc. So predictable. So pathetic.
    Like (28)
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    Absolutely yes! This should have been done a long time ago! Prevent citizens from being disenfranchised by illegal aliens voting. Without strong controls ensuring only legitimate votes are cast, there is no election integrity. And democrats don’t win elections without cheating, that’s why they oppose voter ID laws.
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    Solutions for non-existent problems
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    This is insane to be a question. Being a voter is something that is a right and privilege. How can this even be asked? Can I vote in Russia? Can I vote in Israel? It’s not really a right for all humans. Just citizens.
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