By Meagan Devlin and Hans von Spakovsky
The Daily Signal
September 24, 2017
According to a Philadelphia elections official, hundreds of individuals who are not U.S. citizens have registered to vote in Philadelphia and nearly half of them voted in past elections. Since 2006, 317 registered voters have contacted the City Commissioners, which oversees Philadelphia elections, asking that their registrations be canceled because they are not citizens.
Philly.com reported that many of them registered while either applying for or renewing their driver’s licenses. All applicants were offered the option to register to vote even after providing documentation to DMV officials that although they were in the country legally, they were not citizens.
Al Schmidt, the lone Republican on the Philadelphia election commission, said that all 317 registrations have been canceled and he has been speaking with the Pennsylvania Department of State about the problem.
“For the majority of these people, it’s completely plausible to believe they thought they were eligible to vote,” Schmidt claimed, despite the fact that voter registration applications require an applicant to answer a citizenship question and to swear under oath that he is a U.S. citizen.
“All voter fraud is an irregularity; not all voter irregularities are fraud,” Schmidt said, adding that it is still illegal. “Regardless of the intent, the damage is still the same.”
A year before Schmidt stoked these recent concerns about Philadelphia election integrity, he was fighting a federal lawsuit after failing to disclose the same information about noncitizens and his failure to remove felons from the voter roll.
Public Interest Legal Foundation later published a report detailing 86 cases of noncitizens whose voter registrations were quietly revoked between 2013 and 2015. Almost half of them had voted at least once.
When the commissioner is not busy claiming to find alien voters who actually outed themselves, he still defends the city’s policy of keeping felons registered. Unlike most states, Pennsylvania does not require that someone in prison have his or her record removed or otherwise marked to prevent ineligible voting—a violation of the National Voter Registration Act, an American Civil Rights Union suit argues.