A massive study published in the journal of Electoral Studies suggests that hundreds of thousands of “non-citizens” have cast votes in recent elections illegally. In fact, the data suggests that these illegal votes have been the difference in several contests.
Our data comes from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES). Its large number of observations (32,800 in 2008 and 55,400 in 2010) provide sufficient samples of the non-immigrant sub-population, with 339 non-citizen respondents in 2008 and 489 in 2010. For the 2008 CCES, we also attempted to match respondents to voter files so that we could verify whether they actually voted.
How many non-citizens participate in U.S. elections? More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote. Furthermore, some of these non-citizens voted. Our best guess, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010.
Because non-citizens tended to favor Democrats (Obama won more than 80 percent of the votes of non-citizens in the 2008 CCES sample), we find that this participation was large enough to plausibly account for Democratic victories in a few close elections. Non-citizen votes could have given Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health-care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) won election in 2008 with a victory margin of 312 votes. Votes cast by just 0.65 percent of Minnesota non-citizens could account for this margin. It is also possible that non-citizen votes were responsible for Obama’s 2008 victory in North Carolina. Obama won the state by 14,177 votes, so a turnout by 5.1 percent of North Carolina’s adult non-citizens would have provided this victory margin.
We also find that one of the favorite policies advocated by conservatives to prevent voter fraud appears strikingly ineffective. Nearly three quarters of the non-citizens who indicated they were asked to provide photo identification at the polls claimed to have subsequently voted.
An alternative approach to reducing non-citizen turnout might emphasize public information. Unlike other populations, including naturalized citizens, education is not associated with higher participation among non-citizens. In 2008, non-citizens with less than a college degree were significantly more likely to cast a validated vote, and no non-citizens with a college degree or higher cast a validated vote. This hints at a link between non-citizen voting and lack of awareness about legal barriers.
A couple of caveats to buttress the argument.
1. No attempt is made in the study to separate illegal alien votes from legal alien votes. Both are illegal, so the use of the term “non-citizen” is necessary.
2. It’s impossible to say exactly which races may have been impacted by the illegal votes, however, it is logical to assume that more illegal votes were cast in California than a state like North Carolina. And the data is highly suggestive that Democrat Al Franken owes his razor thin election victory in 2008 to the votes of non-citizens.
As the author points out, voter ID laws are fairly useless in trying to stop this practice. Either the illegal aliens are able to obtain drivers licenses on the black market or even legally as some states have granted the privilege of a license to illegals. Voter ID laws are designed to stop a specific kind of fraud, as well as act as a symbolic statement of our intention as a nation to protect the vote. But short of requiring every citizen to present evidence of their legal status and right to vote, the practice of getting illegals to the polls will continue.
Republicans have always suspected that illegal votes have been cast. But the size and scope of the problem has remained hidden until now. At the very least, Democrats should be exposed for encouraging this lawless voting and demand they cease their efforts to facilitate it.