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Will Illegal Aliens Choose the 2024 Republican Nominee in Arizona?

Arizona Democrats are exploiting a loophole that lets non-citizens cast a ballot in the 2024 election.

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Credit: Rebekah Zemansky

If you think our elections are safe from non-citizens voting, think again. An unprecedented move by Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State Adrian Fontes just opened the way for non-citizens—legal or otherwise—to register for and cast a ballot in the 2024 election. That includes Arizona’s Republican primary in March, meaning the same illegal aliens flooding across our open border could vote against the leading closed borders candidate, President Donald Trump.

True, federal law prohibits non-citizens from voting in federal elections (punishable by fine and prison time); 19 foreign nationals were convicted of voting illegally in the 2016 elections. Arizona law similarly bars all non-citizens from voting—in state and local elections. “Federal-only” voters, however—individuals registered using the federal voter registration form, which is different from the state forms most of us are familiar with—are “eligible to vote solely in races for federal office in Arizona (including the Presidential Preference Election).” In other words, the March 2024 primary.

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The federal form asks registrants to tick the boxes affirming that they are a U.S. citizen and 18 or older, but of course that registration must then be verified by state authorities. If an individual submits a state registration form but his U.S. citizenship cannot be verified and he neglects to provide documented proof of citizenship, he isn’t registered at all. 

If he submits the same using a federal registration form, however, he’s registered as a “federal-only” voter entitled to vote in federal races, including the next presidential election. See the problem here?

The scheme was codified into law in December, when Fontes introduced a new elections procedures manual allowing individuals who have failed to prove their U.S. citizenship to vote in federal races. Elon Musk brought the scandal to light in a Jan. 9 tweet that “Arizona clearly states that no proof of citizenship is required for federal elections.”

State Democrats—and their GOP establishment ally, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer—have tried to deflect by pointing out that Arizona is the only state which requires documented proof of citizenship in its voter registration form (something other states should adopt, incidentally).

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“But that obfuscates the fact that those who have not provided such proof are able to vote in federal elections in the state of Arizona,” warned Voter Reference Foundation executive director Gina Swoboda, whose organization advocates for transparency and integrity in elections. 

“With Fontes’ new elections procedures manual, those individuals will be able to vote in the Presidential Preference Election, selecting the presidential nominee for the Republican Party,” she added.

That astounding loophole has its roots in a 2013 Supreme Court decision (Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona) concerning the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which created the federal voter registration form. 

The background is complicated, but in short a 7–2 majority on the court, including the usually sensible Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (who wrote the opinion), ruled that “the Federal Form guarantees that a simple means of registering to vote in federal elections will be available” no matter how many “procedural hurdles a State’s own form imposes” on would-be voters, including proof of citizenship.

In practice that means relying on the honor system, trusting that under penalty of perjury no one would lie about his citizenship status on a government document. The high court may have intended to ensure easy access to the ballot box, but it may have expanded democracy to include non-Americans, too.

In response, legislative Republicans have proposed a constitutional amendment (HCR 2001) guaranteeing that only qualified registered voters who are U.S. citizens and at least 18 years old “may vote in an election in this state,” which will be on the November 2024 ballot. HCR 2001 would also ban ranked-choice voting, which leftists have used to gain a foothold in red states like Alaska.

State Rep. Alex Kolodin (LD-3), who introduced the bill in the state House, told Restoration News: 

It's just common sense that you have to be a citizen in order to vote, but many people are surprised to learn that the Arizona Constitution does not clearly require someone to be a citizen to vote in a primary election. The provision has also been ignored by the judicial branch when it comes to federal elections. It is time to make clear that the Arizona Constitution's requirement that one must be a citizen to vote applies to all elections in this state, primary and general, state and federal.

“Katie Hobbs obviously has no intention of strengthening voter ID through commonsense legislation or making elections more transparent for everyone,” Rep. Austin Smith (LD-29) told Restoration News. “I’m proud to work with my fellow Freedom Caucus brother Representative Alex Kolodin on HCR2001 to enshrine this crucial law into our constitution and further ban ranked-choice voting in Arizona forever.”

But Arizona is just the start. With dozens of Democrat-run cities greenlighting non-citizen voting nationwide, conservatives are learning to fight back at the ballot box. That effort is led by Americans for Citizen Voting (ACV), a conservative election integrity group. 

“The foreign citizen voting movement is gaining momentum and states need to move quickly to pass a Citizen Only Voting Amendment,” ACV president Avi McCullah told me. “Our elections have no meaning if we allow citizens of other countries to participate in them.”

Come November, Arizonans have a chance at restoring their right to vote. With the way things are going in America, it may be their last shot.

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