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House of Representatives passes bill requiring proof of citizenship to vote. Utah delegation speaks out – Deseret News
House of Representatives passes bill requiring proof of citizenship to vote. Utah delegation speaks out – Deseret News

On Wednesday evening, the US House of Representatives passed the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility Act (SAVE Act) by a vote of 221 to 198. In the vote along party lines, all but four Republicans supported the bill, and five Democrats joined them.

Utah’s entire congressional delegation – Representatives Blake Moore, Celeste Maloy, John Curtis and Burgess Owens – voted for the measure.

The SAVE Act would amend the National Voter Registration Act to require American voters to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote.

Moore, who represents Utah’s 1st District and is vice chair of the House Republican Conference, said the bill is simple.

“Only Americans should vote in American elections. Period,” he said in a statement to Deseret News. “Of course, that’s already the law for federal elections, so why should there be this vote? Because it’s already against the law to cross the border illegally, but it continues to happen because of the Biden administration’s inept border policies.”

Curtis, who represents Utah’s 3rd Congressional District, said in a statement to Deseret News: “Voting is both a right and a privilege for U.S. citizens. The SAVE Act strengthens election security by requiring voters to provide proof of their citizenship.”

“Recently, cities like Washington DC and New York City have allowed non-citizens, including diplomats from countries like Russia and China, to vote in local elections. Addressing this issue is simply common sense,” he added.

Owens, who represents Utah’s 4th Congressional District, said in a statement that the overwhelming crisis at the southern border was responsible for heightened security concerns about election interference.

“This administration has not only put the safety of Americans at risk, it has also compromised the integrity of our country’s electoral system – all for the political gain of its party,” he said.

What did Speaker Mike Johnson say about the SAVE Act?

After the vote, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) said in a opinion said: “Over the last four years, Joe Biden has welcomed millions upon millions of illegal immigrants into the country, knowing full well that non-citizens only have to check a box to vote in a federal election.”

“We have long known that this was a deliberate attempt to turn them into voters, and now the American people know where every member of Congress stands on this critically important issue,” the statement said. Johnson had previously stated in the House of Representatives on Wednesday that while it was already illegal for non-citizens to vote in U.S. elections, “it is happening.”

On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump urged Republicans in a post on Truth Social to pass election reform “or go home and cry yourself to sleep.”

He also suggested that Democrats depend on the migrant electorate before claiming that the “electoral system is under threat” and the “Justice Department is corrupt.”

Senator Mike Lee advocated for the passage of the SAVE Act

Senator Mike Lee of Utah, who has introduced a similar bill in the Senate, thanked Trump for supporting the SAVE Act. He has been a strong advocate for the bill and campaigned for its passage on social media.

In one post, he wrote that just because foreigners are banned from voting does not prevent them from participating in elections.

“By that logic, we don’t have to worry about border security because illegal immigration is already illegal,” the Republican senator said. “The same reasoning would also suggest that background checks are unnecessary because the law already prohibits felons from owning firearms.”

Under the SAVE Act, election officials could be sued if they falsely registered a voter without providing the required proof of citizenship. The alien could be deported from the country.

The bill would also require the Social Security Administration to provide election officials with any information necessary to verify a voter’s citizenship.

As the Deseret News reported, Johnson’s office released a 22-page report last month advocating for passage of the SAVE Act.

The report painted a picture of non-citizen voter turnout in the U.S. In Massachusetts, officials found that 70 foreign nationals had voted earlier this year, and in Ohio they found 137 such registrations. In 2023, officials in Virginia deleted 1,481 voter registrations from the voter rolls because of “non-citizen status.”

The report also included a 2014 study that estimated that 6.4 percent of noncitizens voted in the 2008 general election, “which was likely enough to change the outcome of the North Carolina presidential election that same year” in favor of President Barack Obama.

In contrast, another study by the Brennan Center for Justice found that about 0.0001 percent of the more than 23.5 million votes were likely cast by non-citizens, The Guardian reported.

This bill will likely fail in the Democratic-dominated Senate, but Lee continues to push for it to pass.

“Now it is time for the Senate to act, and I have big plans,” he said in a post on Wednesday evening. “Federal elections are only for US citizens.”

By Isla