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Driver license change shouldn’t enable non-citizen voting

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.

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

County clerks from around the state have raised questions about how the “Green Light” law would affect voter registration. This is especially important because the state Department of Motor Vehicles’ 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 someone registering to vote must provide either a driver’s license number or the last four digits of one’s Social Security number, neither number is evidence of citizenship. Foreign citizens with temporary work visas or green cards are allowed to get Social Security cards and driver’s licenses, and New York now doesn’t even require the driver license applicant to have immigrated to the U.S. legally.

Goodell has introduced the Voter Registration Integrity Act to require new voter registrants in New York to provide documentation of lawful U.S. citizenship. This evidence could be, for example, a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport or certificate of naturalization.

This is not an onerous requirement for voter registration; it is simply upholding the legal requirement that voting rights are reserved for citizens.

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