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Top battleground state official sounds alarm on border crisis' impact on election integrity

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger wants federal, state constitutional amendments banning non-citizen voting.

Published: December 20, 2023 11:14pm

Updated: December 20, 2023 11:32pm

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is sounding an alarm that the crisis at the southern U.S. border may eventually cause an election integrity crisis in America, imploring lawmakers in Congress and his state Legislature to pursue constitutional amendments to permanently ban noncitizen voting before liberal activists try to secure voting rights for the millions flooding into the county under President Joe Biden.

More than 2.8 million immigrants have had encounters with authorities so far this fiscal year, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security's CPB.

“I think that they have a long-term plan,” Raffensperger said Wednesday night in an exclusive interview with the "Just the News, No Noise" television show. “If you look at our open borders, Biden’s over borders, people are just streaming into this country. And there's no rules, regulations, and think about this, really, we should be able to have secure borders as a sovereign nation. Also, if you think about human trafficking, and the drugs and any other, you know, issues that you can relate to that. But every country has secure borders, except right now Biden's southern border, because he will not enforce our immigration laws."

“What that does is open up, you know, the ability for these liberal groups," he continued. "They want to get them some help, get them (noncitizens) on the rolls for city elections,” he added. “But once you ended up with them, offer them city elections, how do you really have (voter) rolls that are clean for both statewide and federal elections? We want to make sure that everyone understands only American citizenship, only American citizens should be on the voter registration list, and only American citizens should be voting in our elections.”

Raffensperger’s concerns aren’t purely theoretical. While federal law from the 1990s bans non-citizens from voting in U.S. House, Senate and presidential elections, at least 17 municipalities in Vermont, Maryland and California and the District of Columbia have authorized non-citizens to vote in local elections, according to Ballotpedia.

A bid to make it legal statewide in New York was recently ruled unconstitutional by a trial court judge and an appeal of that ruling filed by the City of New York, through Mayor Eric Adams and the New York City Council, is currently pending at the Appellate Division of the New York courts. Nonetheless, liberal pressure continues to spread noncitizen voting initiatives elsewhere in the country, especially in blue cities and states.

In Georgia, a liberal group called the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda is suing to try to block the state from conducting its legally required citizenship checks during voter registration. Raffensperger’s office is contesting the lawsuit. The Secretary said he recently conducted an audit of his state’s voter rolls and identified more than 1,600 people who tried to become eligible to vote without proof they were citizens.

While Georgia’s multi-layer security checks caught the efforts, Raffensperger fears other states with less robust security measures might not catch noncitizens on their rolls. A Texas audit in 2022 identified more than 11,000 registered voters who may have been noncitizens, sending the names to counties to check and eliminate offenders. Many -- though not all of those identified in the state audit -- were later confirmed to be noncitizens, local election officials have said.

Raffensperger is pressing his state's General Assembly to amend the state Constitution to mandate that only U.S. citizens may vote in state elections. He told Just the News that enshrining it in the constitution will make it more lasting than current state laws and engender confidence in elections for decades to come.

“The benefit of having it in the Constitution. It's much more difficult for later administrations or … the General Assembly to  change something with a constitutional amendment when you have people that all of a sudden, you look at some of the other states have flipped their General Assembly's and then they're run by these liberals. The next thing you know, that's one of the first things that they want to do is open the doors for non-citizen voting,” he said.

Raffensperger said he expects the state constitutional issue could be ready by next November. In the meantime, he also is urging Congress and other states to begin the far more arduous process to add a similar amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“The most important thing people need to understand is that for the majority of Democrats and Republicans, this is bipartisan,” he added. “We have 70% of all Democrats believe that you have to be an American citizen. 94% of all Republicans. That's 80%  here in Georgia, and that's probably the nationwide average. It just is common sense.”

In the meantime, Raffensperger warned that liberal groups who try to register noncitizens to vote illegally could be jeopardizing immigrants' future citizenship opportunities by creating a legal violation that disqualifies the immigrant for naturalization later on.

“People don't realize that if a noncitizen actually registered to vote, it could actually upset the ability for them to ever become an American citizen,” he said.

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