The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a law that would require proof of citizenship to vote in federal elections. While the White House and House Democrats are strongly opposed to this bill, Republicans — including Sen. Mike Lee, who has introduced similar legislation in the Senate — aren’t backing down.

The Safeguard American Voter Eligibility Act, known as the SAVE Act, would amend the National Voter Registration Act to require American voters to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote.

Republicans insist the more than 10 million migrants who have crossed the border under the Biden administration will impact federal elections, and they say this bill prevents that from happening, while further strengthening the voting system.

The White House in a statement issued Monday said federal law already prohibits noncitizens from voting, a crime punishable by prison time and hefty fines.

“The evidence is clear that the current laws to prevent noncitizen voting are working as intended — it is extraordinarily rare for noncitizens to break the law by voting in federal elections,” the statement said. It stated President Joe Biden endorsed the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2023, aimed at restoring and modernizing the original Voting Rights Act, and the Freedom to Act, focused on improving access to ballots.

Sen. Mike Lee argues federal law doesn’t curb noncitizens from voting, gets support from Elon Musk

In response to the executive branch, Lee, R- Utah, said on X, formerly known as Twitter, “The SAVE Act would prevent non-Americans from illegally voting, protecting the votes of American citizens. The only reason to oppose it is because you want non-Americans illegally voting.”

In another post, Lee argued that just because voting is illegal for foreigners doesn’t mean it stops them from participating in the elections.

“By that logic, we don’t need to worry about border security because illegal immigration is already unlawful,” the GOP senator said. “The same reasoning would likewise suggest that background checks are unnecessary because the law already prohibits felons from possessing firearms.”

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His X posts in support of the SAVE Act drew support from the platform’s owner Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, who said, “Those who oppose (the bill) are traitors,” adding, “What is the penalty for traitors again?”

The bill has plenty of support among GOP representatives, with 104 co-sponsoring the legislation, including Utah Rep. Burgess Owens.

Republican lawmakers have been raising concerns over foreign nationals voting in U.S. elections for some time, but the overwhelming number of migrant crossings at the southern border in recent years has renewed calls for stricter voting laws. In April, former President Donald Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said they plan to prevent “widespread fraud.”

Johnson suggested Democrats want to leave the border open “because they want to turn these people into voters.”

House GOP report reveals cases of noncitizens voting in U.S. elections

Last week, Johnson’s office put out a 22-page report that made the case for passing the SAVE Act.

The report offered a picture of noncitizens voting in the U.S. In the “irrefutable evidence,” the report said officials in Massachusetts found 70 foreign nationals cast ballots earlier this year, and in Ohio, they found 137 such registrations, according to the report. In 2023, Virginia officials removed 1,481 voter registrations from the voter rolls over “noncitizen status.”

The report also included a 2014 study that estimated 6.4% of noncitizens voted in the 2008 general election, “likely enough to change the outcome of the presidential election in North Carolina that year” and sway it toward President Barack Obama.

In contrast, another study from the Brennan Center for Justice revealed that about 0.0001% out of more than 23.5 million votes were suspected to be cast by noncitizens, as The Guardian reported.

Democrats say SAVE Act ‘would be an extreme burden’ for American voters

House Minority Whip Katherine Clark, D-Mass., in rounding up the week’s votes, urged Democrats to vote no on the SAVE Act.

“As we’ve seen a number of times this Congress, House Republicans continue to irresponsibly call into question the credibility of our elections. Despite numerous recounts, challenges in court, and deep-dives by conservative think-tanks, there has been zero evidence of the widespread fraud that this bill purports to target. It is already illegal under current law for noncitizens to register to vote or to vote in federal elections,” said Clark, according to the document obtained by Axios.

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Clark argued this would bar citizens from casting their ballots with only their drivers’ license, REAL or military ID, and a passport or birth certificate would be the only acceptable form of proof.

“This would be an extreme burden for countless Americans, including military voters, Native voters, people who have changed their names (including tens of millions of American women), the elderly, the young, the poor, and naturalized citizens,” said the House minority whip.

The SAVE Act would allow election officials to be sued for wrongly registering a voter who didn’t provide the required proof of citizenship, and for the lawbreaking noncitizen to be removed from the country.

It would also mandate that the Social Security Administration share any necessary information with election officials that could prove a voter’s citizenship.

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