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Illegal Immigrants Shouldn’t Be Able To Use A License To Vote

If Democrats in the state Legislature want to assuage some of the concerns throughout the state about the state law allowing undocumented immigrants to get a New York state driver’s license, then they won’t disregard legislation proposed by Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, last week.

Goodell has introduced the Voter Registration Integrity Act to require new voter registrants to provide documentation of lawful New York citizenship, ensuring that only lawful citizens can register to vote in New York state. County clerks from around the state, including Chautauqua County Clerk Larry Barmore, have raised questions about how the Green Light Bill would effect voter registration. This is especially important because the Motor Vehicles Department’s electronic voter registration system requires no documentation to register to vote while county boards of election also do not require any documentation of citizenship. Although people who are registering to vote must provide either a driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number, neither number is evidence of citizenship. Social Security numbers are issued to foreign citizens with temporary work visas or with “green cards.” Likewise, New York now allows illegal immigrants to obtain a New York driver’s license.

The Voter Registration Integrity Act introduced by Goodell would require all new voter registrations to provide evidence of citizenship, such as a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, certificate of naturalization, or similar documentation. Goodell said requiring a birth certificate, passport, certificate of naturalization or other similar documentation is not an onerous requirement for voter registration and is the same type of documentation that DMV formerly required for all new driver license applications.

One can make a case for allowing undocumented immigrants to get a driver’s license. Allowing those who aren’t citizens to vote is another matter. Goodell’s legislation deserves to be enacted.

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