By Jeri Irene LeRoi
The most important element in maintaining a strong Republic, intended by the founding fathers, was the vote privilege of the American Citizen. Both the Federal and State law clearly states, only citizens of this nation have the right to vote and yet there is significant evidence of non-citizens voting.
Every election since 2000 presidential election and many local elections have been decided within the margin of the number of non-citizens illegally registered to vote.
Many states have been fixing their election laws to stop this disenfranchise of the citizens, but Michigan has lagged behind in putting real law and procedures in place to protect us against the illegally registration as well as the ultimate voting by both legal and illegal immigrants.
Over the last year, I have made it my mission to educate the public about this miscarriage of justice to the legal voter as well a repeatedly requested the state legislators and the Secretary of State to correct the deficiencies in the Michigan process. I have been told repeatedly the democrats wouldn’t let it pass. First, this should not be a partisan issue and second, the democrats are no longer in the majority so now is the time to protect the vote of the Michigan citizen.
The following is a summary of my research of the Michigan status and suggestions to correct its short comings. I have sent a more in-depth report to the Secretary of State, Robbie Rankey is my contact. I believe some of the issues can be corrected by a change in regulation. Even though the law already says only citizens are suppose to vote, I believe we must have a law that says proof of citizenship must be presented when a registration is turned into the County or Township clerks and that status shall be included on the MI drivers license, MI I.D cards and on the Qualified Voter File.
In 1949 Section 257.307 (1) of the Michigan Vehicle Code Act 300 requires photographic identity document, a birth certificate or other sufficient documents as the S.O.S. may require to verify the identity and citizenship of the applicant. If applicant is not a citizen of the U.S., the applicant shall supply a photographic identity document and other sufficient documents to verify the identity of the applicant and the applicant’s legal presence in the U. S.
257.307 (15) also provides for the secretary of state, with the approval of the state administrative board created under 1921 PA2, MCL. 17.1 to 17.3 may enter into agreements with the United States government to verify whether an applicant for an operator’s license or a chauffeur’s license under this section is NOT a citizen of the U.S. is authorized under federal law to be present is authorized under federal law to be present in the U.S.
257.307 (17 – c) S.O.S shall provide fraudulent document recognition programs to department of state employees engaged in the issuance of operator’s licenses and chauffeur’s licenses.
The S.O.S web site instructions for applying for a license or state ID require the following documentation: Social Security number or ineligibility, Legal presence, identity verification, and proof of MI residency. No form # or date is included.
State of Michigan Voter Registration Application requires:
Driver’s license or personal ID card #, or last 4 digits of SS #.
If a person does not have these, they will be assigned a voter registration @
They must sign certifying that they are a citizen of U.S., resident of MI, resident of city or township for at least 30 days prior to election day, 18 years of age, they are telling the truth or face prosecution. No actual proof of any of these is required.
In 1998, MI introduced the Qualified Voter File (QVF), in response to the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. This File was propagated by the MI Drivers license Registrar and the Township and Counties voter Registrar. Neither have citizenship status included in the Registrar.
In 2007 Rep David Law introduced a bill to require proof of citizenship to register to vote. The bill never left committee.
In 2010, Rep. Agema and Sen. C. Brown introduce bills to require proof of citizenship to register to vote. Neither bill left committee.
Voter Registration procedure:
Applicants for voter registration are required to fill out a state registration form at the receiving locations, by mail or on line.
Receiving locations: Dept. of Motor Vehicles, all state social services offices, any family member or community organizer. All of which will eventually turn them into the applicable township or county clerk for processing to the Bureau of Elections under the Sec. of State Office. At which point the name, addresses and precinct is entered into the QVF. Primary and regular elections voting record will be added over time.
- Voter applies for permanent or temporary absentee ballot and returns to appropriate township, county clerks or by mail.
- Voter goes to appropriate precinct, signs in, provides photo ID, poll workers Compare ID against QVF, if name and address match, voter is given ballot.
- Voter goes to appropriate precinct, signs in, provides photo ID, poll workers Compares ID against QVF, if not on QVF for that precinct is sent to correct precinct. If they say they have moved but QVF didn’t get updated, or there appears to be any unmatched information. The vote is challenged; they sign an affidavit and do a provisional vote.
- Voter goes to appropriate precinct, does not have photo ID, if name given is on QVF voter signs affidavit and votes. I have been told they are supposed to get a provisional ballot and if they bring in photo ID within a week the ballot is counted. However, this is not what happened when I was a precinct challenger in the last election; they were allowed to vote and were not required to bring in photo ID, no proof they were who they said much less if they were a citizen. .
Problems and suggested corrections
Until this year the 1949 motor vehicle law was not fully enforced, usually only asked when getting the original license at 16 which only checked for age qualification. People getting a MI ID card or license who have an out of state license also were not asked for citizenship documentation. (Personal experience) In addition, regardless if they were a citizen or not they received the offer to register to vote.
Registering to vote anywhere outside of the DMV was never required to show proof of citizenship. Nor is mail-in or on line registration required to show proof of citizenship.
The QVF has been populated with sources that did not include information on citizenship status and does not contain citizenship status in the file.
We must first clean up the existing QVF.
I suggest that section 257.307 (15) of the 1949 Motor Vehicle Law be enforced and enter into agreement with U.S. government to verify Legal presences and citizenship.
I also suggest entire QVF be processed though this verification to eliminate all non citizens that are currently on the file since status in not included on the QVF. Notify all that are flagged to reregister with proof of citizenship. Much of this would have been taken care of had MI complied with HAVA when establishing the QVF.
According to a Bureau of Elections Director, the state cannot use e-verify to check legal status but instead use S.A.V.E. I can not find any information about what this is or what information is actually checked. However, I do have information about a non citizen getting a voter registration card that was reported to the Bureau and they didn’t even ask for the persons name to investigate, just made excuses about mistakes happen. If the Bureau has a federal government resource for citizenship verification it is evident they are not using it or it is inadequate.
Citizenship status is not included on driver’s license, or MI ID cards.
Either use a different colored card for citizens, than legal residents or have a status block on the cards. Make these changes when license is renewed and call for a renewal of MI ID’s until they are updated with status. This could be done by adding requirement through the regulations instructions.
Voter registration forms ask for driver’s license number, MI Id number or last 4 numbers of social security and that you sign the statement that you are a citizen.
Pass a law that requires proof of citizenship to register ( to include mail in and on line registration) to vote; or allow only the newly enforced MI drivers license/ID card that includes status) to be shown at the polling place in order to cast a vote.
And make executing an unqualified registration a felony.
According to a Bureau of Elections Director, the state cannot use e-verify to check legal status but can instead use S.A.V.E. I cannot find any information about what this is or what information is actually checked. However, I do have information about a non citizen getting a voter registration card that was reported to the Bureau and they didn’t even ask for the persons name to investigate, just made excuses about mistakes happen. If the Bureau has a federal government Resource for citizenship verification it is evident they are not using it, or it is inadequate.
There is some question as to how effective the process is for purging of out dated information (deceased, moved out of state, etc)
Since I do not have complete information about this process, I offer no suggestion except that the process is checked for possible improvement as it is a question raised by a previous State Senator.
Citizenship is a legal requirement to vote in federal and state elections’ yet there is no reliable method to determine the number of non-citizens registered or actually voting because most laws to ensure only citizens vote are ignored, are inadequate, or are systematically undermined by government officials. In truth, every vote cast by non-citizen, whether an illegal alien or a resident alien legally in the country dilutes or cancels the vote of citizens and thus disenfranchise him or her.
Non-citizens voting are likely growing at the same rate as the alien population in the U.S. and yet our current procedures do not allow election officials to detect, deter and prevent non-citizens from registering and voting. The honor system is a determent to the citizens of this state and Nation.
A voter registration card is an easily obtainable document and can be used by the illegal alien to not only vote but for many different purposes, including qualifying for a myriad of benefits, from jobs, welfare and social security that are paid for by the citizens and is a constant drain on the state and federal government budgets.
In essences, current regulations and procedures do more to protect and give benefits to non-citizens and nothing to protect and benefit the American citizen. Awareness of this situation by citizens is being met with great disapproval.
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