Posted on August 28, 2018

Study Details Thousands of Illegal Voters in ‘Sanctuaries’

Brendan Kirby, LifeZette, August 28, 2018

A noncitizen identified in a new study as R. Picos registered to vote in 1998 in California’s San Diego County and then cast ballots in 10 different elections without raising a trifle of concern from officials.

Picos stayed on the voter registration list until 2013, when immigration officials informed San Diego officials that he was not a citizen, according to the report released Monday by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF). The voter integrity organization indicated that there is no evidence that authorities ever prosecuted Picos for illegally voting.


PILF documented 3,120 instances in 13 “sanctuary” jurisdictions in which a noncitizen’s voter registration had been canceled. In most cases, voter registration officials remove the names only after the noncitizens voluntarily come forward.

The loopholes that allowed those noncitizens to register in the first place are not unique to sanctuary jurisdictions. J. Christian Adams, PILF’s founder, president and general counsel, said the 1993 National Voter Registration Act encourages noncitizens to vote.

Under the law, anyone who gets a driver’s license — including green card holders and, in some states, illegal immigrants — receives a prompt to register to vote. The 1993 act was known informally as the “Motor Voter” law.


Even though the motor voter system creates noncitizen voters everywhere, Adams said, it is worse in sanctuary cities and counties because there are no consequences. He pointed to last week’s announcement that federal prosecutors in North Carolina had filed criminal charges against 20 people on charges related to noncitizen voting in elections.

Places where prosecutors are willing to file charges can impose a deterrent on illegal voting, Adams said.

“In sanctuary locations, there is zero chance for criminal prosecution once it happens … That’s the difference,” he said.


Steve Salvi, who monitors sanctuary policies, counts about 525 cities, towns, counties and — in a few cases entire states — that have policies limiting cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. He said he is not surprised to hear that noncitizens have found their way onto voter rolls.

Salvi, founder of the Ohio Jobs and Justice political action committee, said it undercuts the argument of progressives that voter fraud is a myth.


Records uncovered by PILF show that illegal voters ranged from a low of three in Ocean County, New Jersey, to a high of 1,334 in Virginia’s Fairfax County.


The records PILF published on Monday indicate that voting officials sometimes do not apply even basic scrutiny to applications. In the case of Picos in San Diego County, the immigrant needed help completing his registration form. He left blank a question about his citizenship status.


Records PILF uncovered indicate that Picos was one of 51 noncitizens who remained on the rolls for more than a decade. It took an average of 5.9 years for noncitizen voters in San Diego County to be removed.


[Editor’s Note: The PDF of the Safe Spaces report is available here. PILF’s press release on the report is available here.]