It’s been seven years. And…. nothing. In 2010, Georgia enacted the Proof of Citizenship Act to make proof of citizenship a prerequisite to being added to our voter registration rolls.
As I write this article, it has yet to be implemented. Thus, a non-U.S. citizen can easily vote in Georgia elections. All he need do is check the right box on the voter registration application.
Until this law is implemented, Georgia’s system for ensuring that only U.S. citizens vote in Georgia elections has a very large loophole.
How? On the Georgia Application for Voter Registration, there are eight fields of information to complete. In Field 5, there is a place to enter your driver’s license number. If you don’t have one, you are instructed to enter your Social Security Number.
If you don’t have one of those either, you have a third option: check the box on the far right. This box affirmatively states you have neither a driver’s license number nor a Social Security Number. Provided you fill out the rest of the form and check the box claiming to be a U.S. Citizen, you will be added to the Georgia voter registration rolls. No questions asked. Congratulations!
What about Georgia’s Voter ID Law? You can’t vote unless you have some form of photo ID proving your identity and U.S. Citizenship, right? Well, the easiest way to skirt this requirement is to vote by absentee ballot. In Georgia, you do not need a photo ID to vote absentee; nor do you need a notary, a witness, or even an excuse.
Nevertheless, if you insist on illegally voting in person, you are not out of luck. You need only obtain a Georgia Voter Identification Card. To get one, you’ll have to present just two documents: (1) your Voter Precinct Card, which you can download online now that you’re a registered voter; and (2) any document that bears both your name and date of birth. A foreign driver’s license or a foreign Birth Certificate will do nicely.
But, how big a problem is voting by non-citizens? A 2014 study conducted by professors at Old Dominion University and George Mason University concluded that 6.4% of non-citizens voted in the 2008 presidential election. The same study found that 2.2% of non-citizens voted in the 2010 mid-term election.
In the 2016 presidential election, a survey conducted by Americas Majority Foundation concluded that 2.1 to 2.5% of non-citizens voted in the most hotly contested battleground states. In this day of razor-thin political victories, this is more than a little troubling.
Although the Proof of Citizenship Statute still needs tightening, it can be a critical tool in establishing election integrity. It’s past time to implement it. No more waiting.
As Georgia’s next Secretary of State, I’ll close the voter registration loophole for illegal immigrants and other non-citizens in Georgia.
I will resolutely defend Georgia’s vote!
David Belle Isle
Mayor of Alpharetta
Candidate for Georgia Secretary of State