If voter rolls in San Francisco are an example of the rest of the nation, residents who are not eligible to vote because they are not American citizens are already registered to cast ballots.
Last month, San Francisco passed a law allowing non-citizens, including illegal immigrants, to vote in school board elections, according to CNN. Non-citizens are barred from voting in federal elections.
Spurred by the new law, The Washington Times looked at the San Francisco voter rolls and found at least one Russian citizen, Elizaveta Shuvalova, who was added to the rolls — apparently by someone who never told the woman what was going on.
Shuvalova, according to the newspaper, was registered in 2012, before she ever became a citizen.
“I’ve never registered for anything in my entire life,” she said. “This is news to me.”
When shown documents that said she enrolled as a Democrat in 2012 and then a Republican in 2017, Shuvalova told the Times she knew nothing about it.
“This is definitely a shocker to me. It is like an identity fraud because this is not coming from my end. Like I told you, I haven’t even been a citizen during that time frame. So what can we do about it?” she said. She now lives in New York and is a Democrat.
John Arntz, director of the San Francisco Department of Elections, said activists often hand in stacks of registration cards with their petitions. Shuvalova was registered by a group that was circulating a petition to stop a condominium development. Records say Shuvalova never voted.
Shuvalova’s case is not an isolated incident, according to the Public Interest Legal Foundation, which has found that non-citizens are enrolling and in states such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia, Fox News reported.
The group found that in Virginia, about 5,600 voters on the rolls were not citizens, and that a third had voted in past elections.
“Our voter registration system masks non-citizens and allows the opportunity to vote until they decide to self-report at their own peril. All of this could have been prevented if states actually verified citizen eligibility upfront,” said Logan Churchwell, communications and research director for the foundation.
Voter rolls have become controversial. Late last year, the conservative activist group Judicial Watch sued California because 11 counties in the state had voter registration percentages greater than 100 percent of the “age-eligible” population, according to a news release from the group.
“California may have the dirtiest election rolls in the country,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Federal law requires states to take reasonable steps to clean up their voting rolls. Dirty voting rolls can mean dirty elections. This lawsuit aims to ensure that citizens of California can have more confidence that their elections are fair and honest.”
But while some are concerned about election integrity, others want the voter rolls opened wider.
Boston is currently debating a proposal that would allow non-citizens to vote in local and citywide elections, according to Boston.com. Not everyone, however, favors the plan.
“The right to vote is a privilege reserved for U.S. citizens,” Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn said at a public hearing on the proposal, according to Boston.com. “The right to vote is a unique characteristic and privilege reserved for those individuals who have gone through the extensive citizenship application process.”
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