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Voting in our elections is a right and responsibility for citizens only. No citizen should be prevented from doing so, and all citizens should be encouraged to fulfill that responsibility. One bill that will not go into effect on July 1st was geared to prevent non-United States citizens from voting illegally.
The bill was fairly simple. It would have required the Clerks of the Court around the state to report to the registrar those who are on the registered voter list who admit that they are not citizens. When the court system selects potential jury members from those who are registered to vote, they ask them under penalty of law if they are citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Not wishing to be charged with a crime, non-citizens usually admit they are not citizens.
This common sense legislation passed with strong bipartisan support. It passed the House of Delegates 87-12 and the Senate passed the bill 36-2. However, Governor McAuliffe chose to veto the legislation. Clearly, it is sad that the Governor wanted these non-citizens to vote illegally. One can only guess his reasoning; but, considering his interest in winning back the State Senate this year and that Virginia is considered a tossup state in the 2016 presidential election, a safe bet would be that he expects that these illegal voters will more likely vote as he will.
Some would have you believe that there is very little illegal voting taking place. They point to the fact that very few have ever been convicted in Virginia. That, however, is simply because the greatest problems are occurring in cities and counties that choose to not bring charges. It was discovered in 2011 that 278 individuals who were not U.S. citizens had registered to vote in Fairfax County, 117 of whom had voted in state and federal elections. After removing them from the voter rolls, both the U.S. Justice Department and the local Commonwealth’s Attorney were given the names involved with the problem. Neither did anything about it.
This is a not just a problem in Virginia but in most every state in the country. In a 2005 study, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that three percent of the 30,000 individuals called for jury duty from voter registration rolls over a two year period in just one U.S. district court were not U.S. citizens. That is almost 1,000 voters!
According to Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund in his book Who’s Counting?, problems ranging from voter fraud to a slipshod system of vote counting are rampant. Noted political scientist Walter Dean Burnham calls ours nationally “the most careless of the developed world”. In an effort to clean up our election laws, reduce fraud, and increase public confidence in the integrity of the voting system, Virginia and many other states have passed laws requiring a photo ID be shown at the polls.
Public confidence in the integrity of elections is at an all-time low. In a study in 2008, 62% of American voters thought that voter fraud was very common or somewhat common. Fear that elections are being stolen erodes the legitimacy of our government.
Having an illegal vote counted reduces the impact of your vote. Again, we should encourage citizens and citizens alone to vote.
We love to hear from you! You can contact us at Sen.Ruff@verizon.net, Post Office Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23297 or 434-374-5129.