Mythbusters: No, ‘illegal immigrants’ are not voting in Arizona elections (but you already knew that)

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

In the reality-based community where facts matter, this is old news. But in the conservative media entertainment complex world of conspiracy theories, where Tea-Publicans routinely demonize Mexican immigrants and falsely claim that they are voting in elections to support voter I.D. requirements that have a disparate impact on the elderly, the poor, minorities and college students — a form of voter suppression — this is "new" news. The Arizona Republic today reports, Illegal immigrant vote-fraud cases rare in Arizona:

Arizona has spent enormous amounts of time and money waging war against voter fraud, citing the specter of illegal immigrants’ casting ballots.

State officials from Gov. Jan Brewer to Attorney General Tom Horne to Secretary of State Ken Bennett swear it’s a problem.

At an August news conference, Horne and Bennett cited voter-fraud concerns as justification for continuing a federal-court fight over state voter-ID requirements. And some Republican lawmakers have used the same argument to defend a package of controversial new election laws slated to go before voters in November 2014.

But when state officials are pushed for details, the numbers of actual cases and convictions vary and the descriptions of the alleged fraud become foggy or based on third-hand accounts.

An examination of voter-fraud cases in Maricopa County shows those involving illegal immigrants are nearly non-existent, and have been since before the changes to voter-ID requirements were enacted in 2004.

In response to an Arizona Republic records request, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office provided a list of 21 criminal cases since January 2005 in which the suspect was charged with a felony related to voter fraud. A search of court records found 13 other cases.

Of the 34 Maricopa County cases, two of the suspects were in the country illegally and 12 were not citizens but living in the U.S. legally, court records showed. One of the suspect’s legal-residency status was unclear from the records.

The non-citizens came from around the world — Indonesia, Canada, Mexico, Yugoslavia, the Philippines and Thailand. Most had been living legally in the U.S. for decades. Several stated in court documents that they thought they were permitted to vote because they were legal permanent residents of the United States.

None was convicted of a felony or given any jail time. A couple of the cases were dismissed; the other suspects pleaded guilty to misdemeanors and served a few months of probation.

Eighteen of the cases involved convicted felons who had lost the right to vote. In several of the cases, the felons told the court no one had ever explained to them that they no longer could vote even after serving their time. One said he was sent an early ballot in the mail and thought he was permitted to vote.

Presented with this information, Horne maintained that voter fraud by illegal immigrants is a problem in Arizona.

“There are thousands of people who were non-citizens who registered to vote, and many of them voted,” he said.

And here is where Tom 'banned for life by the SEC" Horne demonstrates why he is just too effin' stupid to be the Attorney General of Arizona:

Horne said he based his statements on court testimony by county recorders, who said more than 200 people in a single year had stated on a jury-duty summons that they weren’t citizens. “And jury forms only go to a small percentage of residents, so you have to multiply that to get the number of non-citizens who actually registered statewide,” Horne said.

But Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell said Horne’s numbers aren’t accurate.

She agreed there are a couple of hundred instances each year in which the county jury commissioner notifies her that someone has stated on a jury form that he or she is not a citizen. But Purcell said not all of those are cases involve a person who is illegally registered to vote, much less one who has illegally cast a ballot.

“The jury summons is a combination of voter registration and driver’s licenses,” she said, explaining that an individual does not have to be a registered voter to be summoned for jury duty. “They may go to some people that have a driver’s license and are not citizens but are legal aliens.”

If they are registered to vote, Purcell said she immediately removes them from the registration rolls.

If they actually are citizens and lied in order to avoid being summoned for jury duty — which Purcell said happens regularly — they can re-register.

If Purcell determines someone has registered and voted illegally, she forwards the case to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for prosecution. She didn’t know the exact numbers of such cases, but said they amount to a handful each year.

“I don’t see it as a big problem,” she said. “We send very few to the County Attorney’s Office.”

Other county recorders echoed Purcell’s assessment.

We've been over this before. People lie all the time to get out of jury duty. This is a separate crime for which they can be prosecuted (but probably won't). Our race-baiting AG uses this entirely unrelated statistic to falsely claim that "illegal immigrants" are voting in Arizona.

Horne said the low number of prosecutions doesn’t prove anything.

“A lot of them don’t get prosecuted,” Horne said. “(The county attorneys) have scarce resources and bigger fish to fry.”

According to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, over the past nine years there were four cases of voter fraud that the office decided not to prosecute.

Despite the numbers, Horne said he will continue to defend the voter-approved requirement for proof of identification to register to vote as it moves through the courts. He said he believes voters agree that voter fraud by illegal immigrants is a problem in Arizona, and that’s why they passed the requirements.

"Don't bother me with the facts, I know what I believe." I saw it on FAUX News.

So let's review. Disgraced recalled state senator Russell Pearce and his buddy from the Federation for American immigration Reform (FAIR), anti-immigrant nativist Chris Kobach, drafted Prop. 200 in 2004 and sold it to Arizona voters on the hyped-up right-wing media hysteria that "illegal immigrants" are voting in Arizona elections. Every Republican politician in Arizona jumped on that bandwagon. Since that time, only two "illegal immigrants" — count 'em, two "illegals immigrants" — have been identified but not prosecuted (the Republic report does not say if they were from Mexico, the focus of all the GOP anti-immigrant hysteria).

First, the state of Arizona has pissed away millions of dollars on litigating this law in court and in instituting enforcement mechanisms at the county level for a "problem" that is virtually non-existent. This is a "feel good" law for right-wing conservative reactionaries who live in the conspiracy theory world of the conservative media entertainment complex where "illegal immigrants" are always lurking in the shadows waiting "to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids." Sound public policy should not be based upon the irrational fears of people who are freakin' nuts!

Second, this Republic reporter needs to do a follow-up report. The real purpose of this law was to suppress certain targeted categories of voters who do not possess the required state-issued photo I.D. — people who also tend to vote for Democrats. This is much harder to quantify. How many people have not registered to vote, or not bothered to vote, because they do not have the necessary documents required to register or to obtain the required state-issued photo I.D.? No one can ever say for certain. Depriving lawful citizens of the United State of their right to vote is the pernicious effect of this unnecessary law. And that is the true crime.

One response to “Mythbusters: No, ‘illegal immigrants’ are not voting in Arizona elections (but you already knew that)

  1. Frances Perkins

    After just watching, Dr. Strangelove, one of the geniuses, Horne, Brewer, Monty, or Arpaio, should’ve be classified as “Jack D. Ripper”. It’s incredible that a 1964 movie satire so resembles the modern Republican Party.