Report: At Least 3,100 Noncitizens Registered to Vote in Just 13 Sanctuary Cities

Published On: August 27th, 2018

Sanctuary Cities Fail to Prosecute Alien Voting

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN.) – August 27, 2018: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released Safe Spaces, a new report detailing how noncitizens were often invited and given access to ballots in 13 sanctuary jurisdictions across seven states over the past decade. The ineligible registrations were typically discovered only after noncitizens self-reported their statuses to officials. Worse, sanctuary policies have resulted in aliens who do illegally vote never being prosecuted.

Sanctuary jurisdictions in seven states disclosed various data demonstrating how noncitizens entered their voter registration systems, voted, and were later revealed to be ineligible—often taking years for discovery. In many cases, a state’s implementation of the National Voter Registration Act, also known as the “Motor Voter” law, invited noncitizens to participate in voting and relied on those same individuals to self-report their actions at their own peril.

Summary Totals of Self-Reported or Cancelled Alien Registrations

Fairfax County, VA: 1,334

Middlesex County, NJ: 346

Chesterfield County: VA: 321

Philadelphia, PA: 317

San Diego County, CA: 264

Chicago, IL: 232

Arlington, VA: 145

Essex County, NJ: 107

San Francisco County, CA: 28

DeKalb County, GA: 11

New York, NY: 6

Riverside County, CA: 6

Ocean County, NJ: 3

Noncitizen Removals: 3,120

“The failures of Motor Voter are clearly visible in sanctuary cities,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “A terrible combination of bad Motor Voter enforcement, increasing chatter over noncitizen voting rights, and simple disregard for immigration law creates an environment for illegal voting. Bad actors and unassuming immigrants are caught up in this system all the same. Congress must update and fix the flaws in the Motor Voter system.” 

The Foundation advances solutions necessary to close off the voter registration system from ineligible noncitizens in the latest report:

  • Verify claims of citizenship in registration applications against documentary evidence held in driver’s license and other government databases;
  • Build better information-sharing procedures with immigration and customs agencies to prevent ineligible applicants from proceeding and identify those still masked by a broken system;
  • Amend several immigration applications to include questions about voting history;
  • Collaborate with state and federal programs designed to confirm eligibility for various benefit programs; and
  • Improve public education efforts to warn legal permanent residents and others to refuse voter registration offers by any party or they risk deportation when naturalizing.

The PILF is currently engaged in federal litigation to seek the release of similar documents representative of the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Harris County, Texas.

Safe Spaces follows the Foundation’s previous reports studying noncitizen voter participation in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia.

Access to Safe Spaces: How Sanctuary Cities Are Giving Cover to Noncitizens on the Voter Rolls is available, here.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.


Public Interest Legal Foundation