Voting Rights Advocate Witnesses Waffle On Non-Citizens Voting

At a March 12 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) had a series of questions for the panel that represented different voting rights and legal organizations.

According to a report in The Federalist, Lee asked each of the five witnesses “Do you believe that only citizens of the United States should be able to vote in federal elections?”

“We don’t have a position about non-citizens voting in federal elections, we believe that’s what the current laws are, and so we’re certainly fighting for everyone who is eligible under current law to vote,” Executive Director of The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Damon T. Hewitt said.

Sophia Lin Lakin, the director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, also declined to directly answer Lee’s question. Lain said that Federal law prohibits non-citizens from voting in federal elections, and the ACLU’s focus is on enabling all eligible voters to be able to vote and cast their ballot.

Southwest Voter Registration Education Project President Lydia Camarillo first said that state law makes those decisions. The Federalist reported that Lee pressed her to clarify whether the federal government had any right to determine who votes in federal elections, she replied, “I don’t have a position on that.”

In a similar report on the hearing in The Blaze, the two Republican witnesses — Maureen Riordan of the Public Interest Legal Foundation and Hans von Spakovsky of the Election Law Reform Initiative at the Heritage Foundation both answered that only U.S. citizens should be allowed to vote and that they should be required to provide documentary evidence of their citizenship when registering to vote.

The issue of allowing or prohibiting non-citizens from voting in federal elections continues to be an ongoing issue in some states. In 2022, Arizona enacted a state law that required people applying to register to vote in federal elections to show proof of citizenship. The U. S Department of Justice is suing the state saying the law goes too far and is unconstitutional.

Lee left no doubt where he stood on the issue, by adding a link to The Federalist article on X (formerly Twitter) and posting “Only citizens should vote—after showing a photo ID. This isn’t hard. Democrats act as if it were. They’re wrong.”

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