Georgia Moves to Block Noncitizen Voting in State Constitution

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, speaking at a Knight Foundation event at the Biltmore Hotel, in Oklahoma City, Nov. 28, 2023.

By Fred Lucas Published on December 14, 2023

Georgia’s top election official is pointing to the Biden administration’s failure to secure the southern border as a reason the state Legislature must act to prevent voting by foreign nationals in state elections.

“With open borders, citizenship verification for voter registration is more important than ever,” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said Monday in a public statement.

Raffensperger called on the Georgia General Assembly to amend the state Constitution to clarify that only U.S. citizens may vote in elections. He warned that liberal organizations are trying to use the courts to overturn citizenship verification ahead of the 2024 election.

“Organizations like the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda are currently suing to end critical citizenship verification in our registration process, potentially exposing our elections to foreign interference and diluting the power of legally registered voters,” Raffensperger said. “I’m calling on the General Assembly to take immediate action and pass a constitutional amendment ensuring that no liberal group can leverage the courts to add noncitizens to our voter rolls.”

The Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda didn’t respond immediately to inquiries from The Daily Signal for this report. But the organization’s website boasts about the success of past litigation over voting requirements.

“In the area of voter protection, lawsuits were won against the secretary of state [Raffensperger] for unilaterally eliminating voters from the rolls and discarding absentee ballots where signatures did not exactly match,” the coalition’s website says. “Efforts to reduce early voting periods have been thwarted while the coalition has effectively petitioned election boards in order to prevent the closure of polling locations.”

As noted in my book “The Myth of Voter Suppression,” Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams launched a national movement and career off her two failed campaigns for governor, claiming without evidence that the first election was stolen from her. Her organization, Fair Fight Action, has opposed voter ID and citizenship verification measures nationally.

“Failed candidates like Stacey Abrams and the organization she founded, Fair Fight, have fought in court to eliminate citizenship verification for Georgia voters and they continue to fail in court,” Raffensperger said.

Georgia has a score of 84 on The Heritage Foundation’s Election Integrity Scorecard, ranking second in the nation behind only Tennessee’s score of 88.

About 8 in 10 Georgia voters apply for registration automatically when they get or update their driver’s license, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office. The Georgia Department of Driver Services, which is Real ID-certified, verifies citizenship status.

Raffensperger’s office worked with the Department of Driver Services to conduct a full citizenship audit of Georgia’s voter rolls.

Other states have enacted measures in recent years to protect against noncitizens voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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An Arizona law passed in 2022 requires jury lists to be shared with clerks to remove from voting rolls any individuals who were dismissed from a jury for not meeting citizenship requirements. It also requires county election registrars to review state, federal, and local databases against their own voter registration databases.

Even liberal Washington state passed a measure earlier this year to require proof of citizenship to participate in automatic voter registration. It also requires the state’s Department of Licensing to provide citizenship documents when asked by the secretary of state.

Mississippi enacted a measure in 2022 that requires voter registration applications to be compared with driver’s license and identification information held by the state’s Department of Public Safety.

If a comparison reveals that an applicant who wants to register to vote isn’t a U.S. citizen, Mississippi’s Statewide Election Management system notifies the local registrar. That registrar then must enter the applicant’s information into U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program and notify the person, who has 30 days to provide proof of citizenship.

In 2021, Texas enacted an election reform law that, among other things, requires the secretary of state to compare monthly voter registration lists with the Texas Department of Public Safety’s database to verify the accuracy of citizenship status provided on voter registration applications.

The states of North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, and Oklahoma already had similar requirements on the books.


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