Sharice Davids votes against proof-of-citizenship voter registration bill

WASHINGTON D.C. – In a vote that monitored two major national issues in both illegal immigration and election security, Third District Congresswoman Sharice Davids voted against a bill in the U.S. House on Wednesday to require proof of citizenship to register to vote in federal elections, and force states to purge their voter rolls of non-citizen registrants.

HR 8281 – the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility Act (SAVE) passed the House 221-198, with 216 Republicans and five Democrats voting in favor and all “No” votes coming from Democrats. Ten Democrats and four Republicans did not vote – including 2nd District Kansas Congressman Jake LaTurner.

The bill was driven by the ongoing crisis at the country’s southern border, which has seen an unprecedented surge in illegal immigration since Joe Biden’s presidency, as well as a growing national awareness that declarations of citizenship at the time voters in many states register is purely ‘on the honor system’ – without documented verification.

Specifically, the bill prohibits states from accepting and processing an application to register to vote in a federal election unless the applicant presents documentary proof of U.S. citizenship.

It also requires states to establish an alternative process under which an applicant may submit other evidence to demonstrate U.S. citizenship. It makes the changes by amending the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

Reuters photo

If passed by the U.S. Senate, each state would have to take affirmative steps on an ongoing basis to ensure that only U.S. citizens are registered to vote, which would include establishing a program to identify individuals who are not U.S. citizens using information supplied by specified sources.

Additionally, the bill requires states to remove noncitizens from their official lists of eligible voters, and it establishes criminal penalties against an election official who registers an applicant to vote in a federal election who fails to present documentary proof of U.S. citizenship.

It further mandates the Election Assistance Commission must, within 10 days of its passage, adopt and transmit guidance for implementing the bill’s requirements to chief state election officials. Critics say the the lead up to the vote exaggerated the incidence of non-citizen voting and would make it more difficult for eligible citizens to register.

3rd District Congresswoman Sharice Davids, far right, poses for a digitally-altered promotional photo featuring other progressive liberal women Democrats./Sharice Davids Congressional Facebook page

Republicans have expressed consistent concern that Biden’s “open border” policy that some analysts say have allowed as many as 11 million illegal immigrants into the country was a ruse to increase Democrat voting rolls, since immigrants and primarily Hispanics, which make up the mainstay of illegal border crossings, most often vote Democrat. House Speaker Mike Johnson said Democrats were so adamantly against verified citizenship because the wanted illegals to be able to vote.

National Voter Registration Form/

“If just a small percentage, a fraction of a fraction of all those illegals Joe Biden has brought in here to vote, if they do vote, it wouldn’t just change one race,” Johnson said. “it might potentially change all of our races.”

Kansas 2nd District Congressman Jake LaTurner was one of 10 Republicans not voting on the measure. Ron Estes in the 4th District and Tracey Mann in the 1st District voted in favor.

In defending her ‘no’ vote on the bill, Davids’ office said  it is already a felony for noncitizens to register to vote in federal elections, and federal voter registration forms require the registrant to confirm his/her citizenship. Congresswoman Summer Lee, D-Pa., spoke for Democrats on the House floor before the vote, maintaining the effort by Republicans was intended to stop people from voting.

Cato Institute photo

“Republicans want to throw up barriers because when people vote, they lose,” Lee said. “When we say that the right to vote is under attack, we’re not talking about hypotheticals. It is under attack right here, right now with this bill.”

Mann said the bill was common sense.

“It should not be controversial to say that only U.S. citizens can vote in our federal elections,” Mann said. “Integrity in our elections is the bedrock of our democracy, and Americans deserve to know that every legal vote counts. I don’t understand how 198 of my Democrat colleagues could vote against this commonsense legislation.”

“With more than 12 million illegal immigrants entering the U.S. under President Biden’s failed leadership,” Mann said, “Congress should do everything in our power to restore Americans’ faith that they are voting in free and fair elections without the interference of non-U.S. citizens.”

Dane Hicks is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School at Quantico, VA. He is the author of novels "The Skinning Tree" and "A Whisper For Help." As publisher of the Anderson County Review in Garnett, KS., he is a recipient of the Kansas Press Association's Boyd Community Service Award as well as more than 60 awards for excellence in news, editorial and photography.

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