Michigan asks voters if they’re legal citizens; ACLU freaks out
The American Civil Liberties Union teamed up with the SEIU and a few other interested groups to sue the Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, over her addition of a check box to ballot applications, asking voters to confirm they are U.S. citizens who legally have the right to vote. ACLU’s Michigan executive director, Kary Moss, described this as a “cynical voter suppression tactic.”
No, this is not a joke or satire. The ACLU actually thinks a check box asking voters to confirm that they’re legally entitled to vote constitutes “suppression.” The mad scramble to protect vote fraud operations had degenerated into this level of absolute lunacy. Devoid of anything approaching a logical argument, vote fraud defenders are down to describing a simple “Yes or No” question on ballot applications as a “roadblock” that will “confuse” and “intimidate” minority voters.
There is an entirely separate issue here about whether or not the Secretary of State had the authority to make this change on her own. A bill requiring voters to check off a citizenship box was vetoed this summery by Governor Rick Snyder (who, like Johnson, is a Republican.) Moss of the ACLU describes this in hyperbolic terms by saying Johnson has “thumbed her nose at the electorate and flouted the very laws she was elected to uphold.”
Johnson and her staff seem confident that she does have “the power to prescribe ballot forms.” At the very least, it sounds like a debatable point of order, but of course it’s buried under layers of hysterical shrieking about “voter suppression,” which is pitched more for the ears of Michigan voters than Michigan judges.
What got this ball rolling was a dramatic performance by a voter named Rich Robinson, who encountered the awful “Are you a U.S. Citizen?” checkbox at the polls during the August primaries. He refused to answer the question, even though he very obviously understood it, and was clearly a U.S. citizen. His ballot was denied because he wouldn’t answer the question, so he commenced howling about “disenfranchisement.” In a completely unrelated coincidence, Robinson just happens to be the Executive Director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, which bills itself as “a nonpartisan, nonprofit coalition of organizations and individuals concerned about the influence of money in politics and the need for campaign finance reform in Michigan.”
The Secretary of State’s office, apparently surprised that anyone would refuse to answer a simple question that relates directly and indisputably to their legal eligibility for voting, issued a hasty directive that anyone who refused to answer the citizenship question should be given a short lecture about the ineligibility of non-citizens to vote, then handed their ballot. Now they’re trying to shore up the regulations about answering this blindingly obvious question, and the usual billowing cloud of fog that surrounds every effort to crack down on illegitimate voters is rolling in.
Michigan has real problems with illegitimate voters. The Detroit News reports that a recent review of 58,000 driver’s licenses and state ID cards found 963 noncitizens registered to vote… and 54 of them had already voted illegally, a total of 95 times. Johnson extrapolated these results using census estimates of Michigan’s non-citizen population, and estimated that 4,000 noncitizens might be registered to vote.
“Johnson said the discovery justifies her insistence that Michigan’s 7.34 million registered voters be asked to affirm their citizenship if they vote at the polls in November,” the Detroit News related. “The daughter of a Canadian immigrant, Johnson said the citizenship question is necessary because over the years noncitizens have been automatically registered to vote while legally obtaining a driver’s license.”
Vote fraud defenders are always whining that illegitimate voters are a teensy, tiny, statistically irrelevant problem that nobody should care about… but every serious effort to find them turns up thousands of illegitimate voters, in every state across the land. And while the media is very reluctant to report it, each of these investigations finds a fair number of people who have voted illegally in the past.
A remarkable example of this comes from Florida – which was, once upon a time, the ultimate chad-dangling photo-finish every-vote-counts swing state. Florida launched a supposedly “controversial” effort to clean illegitimate voters from its rolls, a process made vastly more difficulty by the Obama Administration’s refusal to share Homeland Security data with the Florida Secretary of State, as required by law. Florida eventually compelled the provision of this data with a lawsuit, greatly increasing the speed and accuracy of their project.
Despite much caterwauling from the usual suspects on the Left, absolutely no one was unfairly “disenfranchised” by this effort… but even with all the media pressure, interference from the Justice Department, and sporadic shutdowns of their infamous “voter purge,” Florida still found over 200 indisputably illegal voters, beginning from a list of 180,000 questionable registrations. Quite a few of these people were found to have voted illegally in multiple previous elections.
Curious to get to the bottom of the illegal voter situation, local NBC-TV affiliate WBBH in Southwest Florida performed a very simple test: they checked one county’s voter registrations against the names of people who begged out of jury duty by claiming they were not legal U.S. citizens. They quickly found 94 such voters, and set about arranging interviews with them. The results were astonishing. One woman who claimed she didn’t know how she ended up registered to vote, because she knows full well that she cannot vote legally, turns out to have voted six times over the past decade. Another non-citizen immigrant from Jamaica said he didn’t know how he got registered to vote, but his registration form was filled out in his own hand… and the box asking whether or not he was a citizen was checked “Yes.”
Far from being a scurrilous effort at voter suppression, or an unnecessary step that will somehow confuse and frighten legitimate voters, measures like the one undertaken by Michigan’s Secretary of State are a perfectly reasonable effort to set up a final line of defense against illegal ballots. The innocently confused will benefit from a final reminder that only American citizens get to vote in our elections. Malevolent fraudsters need one more chance to be placed on the record for making a false, actionable claim of citizenship. They should be frightened of the consequences.
The silly arguments raised against common-sense voter ID techniques become positively delirious when leveled against a checkbox on ballot application forms, asking one of the simplest and most basic questions any voter could possibly be asked. No one understands that question better than legal immigrants, who had to jump through a lot of hoops to secure their citizenship, and relish each new opportunity to affirm it.