Study: Illegal Non-Citizen Votes Could Sway U.S. Elections

Study: Illegal Non-Citizen Votes Could Sway U.S. Elections

An upcoming study to be published in the publication Electoral Studies has its authors positing the question “Could non-citizens decide the November election?”

Writing in the Washington Post, Old Dominion University political science professors Jesse Richman and David Earnest preview some of the results of their findings, using data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study. 

According to the author’s preview published Friday, more than 14 percent of non-citizens in 2008 and 2010 “indicated” they were registered to vote and some did. 

“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,” wrote Richman and Earnest.

They note that non-citizens tend to be Democratic voters and that in their 2008 sample, 80 percent of non-citizens cast ballots for Obama. Given that, they conclude that non-citizen participation “was large enough to plausibly account for Democratic victories in a few close elections.”

The professors used the 2008 election of Sen. AL Franken (D-MN) and Obama’s victory in North Carolina in 2008 as examples. 

“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,” they wrote. “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.”

Richman and Earnest note that their research is not comprehensive as it relies on a sample of voters and a reliance on self-reporting of citizenship status. They also highlighted that requiring photo identification to vote might not be able to suss out this type of voter fraud as “Nearly three quarters of the non-citizens who indicated they were asked to provide photo identification at the polls claimed to have subsequently voted.”

The research comes less than two weeks before the midterm elections where many races are in a dead heat and the same week the North Carolina State Board of Elections discovered 145 illegal immigrants who had been granted “deferred action” on the voting rolls. 


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