Photo: Voter Suppression
Following other far-right attacks on comprehensive immigration reform, True the Vote, a Tea Party group purporting to combat voter fraud, is now rallying against the Senate’s immigration bill. In a fundraising email to supporters, True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht warned that the bill presents a “golden opportunity” to allow “millions of newly legalized immigrants” to “undermine our electoral system.”
The email stays vague on the details of how exactly the bill will do this. Rather, Engelbrecht argues that the bill is automatically suspicious because “the Progressives seem to love everything about this bill.” She also equates legalized immigrants with fraudulent voters:
This bill is chock-full of loopholes and new regulations in its nearly 1,000 pages. The Progressives seem to love everything about this bill. And that is scary.
Leftists would like nothing better than to be able to take advantage of more liberal residency requirements and national ID laws to swamp voting places with millions of fraudulent voters.
If this bill passes, millions of newly legalized immigrants could overwhelm local and state election offices.
And you can bet the ACLU, La Raza, and all the other anti-voter ID groups will be fighting us even harder if this bill is passed. They will claim that sensible voting rules are suppressing the new immigrant vote!
In reality, immigrants who become legal under the bill would have to wait 14 years to gain citizenship and the accompanying right to vote. However, True the Vote’s unfounded suspicion that minorities voting is inherently illegal is nothing new. Despite the group’s stated intention of fighting in-person voter fraud, an exceedingly rare phenomenon, the legislation they advocate for, such as voter ID, limited voter registration, and voter purges, has been found time and again to target minorities’ voting rights. In the last election cycle alone, the Justice Department blocked 4 supposedly anti-voter fraud laws in 3 states because they would clearly make it harder for minorities to vote. Florida and Colorado also threatened to purge suspected non-citizens — most of whom were Latino — from their voter rolls if the individuals could not prove their citizenship in time. Florida found a single non-citizen voter from Canada, and Colorado ultimately gave up after confirming citizenship for the vast majority of suspected non-citizens.
Even though citizens have the right to vote regardless of origin or language, anti-immigrant lawmakers have also pushed for legislation targeting non-English speaking voters. New bills would restrict non-English speakers’ access to interpreters at the polls and require ballots and election materials to be printed only in English.
After the November election, many Republicans pointed to high minority turnout as sufficient proof of voter fraud. In Colorado, a Republican poll worker expressed concern over “a very high concentration of people of color,” while the head of the Maine GOP claimed “dozens, dozens of black people” cast ballots that had to be illegal because “nobody in town knows anyone who’s black.”