Pennsylvania Admits to 11,000 Noncitizens Registered to Vote
A top Pennsylvania lawmaker called on the state Wednesday to immediately expunge the names of 11,198 noncitizens whom the state confirmed are registered to vote, despite not being eligible.
State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Republican and former chairman of a House government oversight panel, said the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, belatedly acknowledged the large number of noncitizens in communications over the past two months.
Just days earlier, officials in Texas announced they had found nearly 100,000 noncitizens on the state’s voter rolls.
The numbers, while not yet evidence of massive voter fraud that President Trump said marred the popular vote in the 2016 election, are nonetheless higher than the almost-zero levels of voting mischief that the president’s critics have suggested.
State officials followed a similar process in Pennsylvania after admitting that a glitch in state motor vehicle bureau computers allowed noncitizens to register to vote easily. They, too, matched driver’s license records with voter rolls and came up with nearly 11,200 names.
The state did not release the names to Mr. Metcalfe or to Rep. Garth Everett, a Republican and chairman of the House State Government Committee, so they weren’t able to figure out how many had cast ballots.
Voter integrity advocates said the findings undermine arguments that there is no problem.
“It is the tip of the iceberg,” Tom Fitton, director of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, told The Times. “This shows the urgent need for citizenship verification for voting. The Department of Justice should follow up with a national investigation.”
No state requires proof of citizenship to register to vote. A U.S. District Court judge last year struck down a law championed by then-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to require citizenship documentation. Kansas took the ruling to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In Pennsylvania, the state’s Democrat-led administration has been less enthusiastic about confronting the issue.
After an earlier estimate put the number of noncitizens on state voting rolls at 100,000, Mr. Metcalfe made a right-to-know request under state law for the voter information. He was preparing to get the information early last year when the Wolf administration objected and went to court to try to keep it secret.
The state Commonwealth Court, an appellate panel, scheduled a hearing for last month — after the November elections. Just a week before the court hearing, the Wolf administration withdrew its appeal and announced that it would turn over the information.
Mr. Metcalfe said the timing was suspicious.
“This governor has been an obstructionist in revealing this information to the citizens, and thereby I believe a participant in allowing this fraudulent activity to occur because it benefits him and his party,” the lawmaker said.
The noncitizen debate reached the national level in 2014 when Jesse T. Richman, a professor at Old Dominion University, and two colleagues began publishing estimates of thousands and perhaps millions of illegal voters.
Mr. Richman based his numbers on the comprehensive Cooperative Congressional Election Study conducted by YouGov polling and a consortium of colleges. It is one of the few polls that attempts to find noncitizen voters.
The consortium’s professors dismissed Mr. Richman’s work. After whittling down their own polling, they determined that, statistically, “zero” illegal immigrants vote in U.S. elections.
They have allies at the liberal Brennan Center. Two scholars wrote in 2017: “Like voter fraud generally, non-citizen voting is incredibly rare. Simply put, we already know that ineligible non-citizens do not vote in American elections — including the 2016 election — except at negligible rates.”