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Idaho officials issue executive order barring noncitizens from voting in state and local elections • Idaho Capital Sun

Idaho Governor Brad Little and Secretary of State Phil McGrane signed a supreme command Tuesday to take additional steps to ensure that non-U.S. citizens do not participate in Idaho’s elections.

Idaho’s elections already have effective mechanisms in place to ensure non-citizens do not vote, but the ordinance, or Only Citizens Will Vote Act, is intended to increase voter confidence, McGrane told the Sun.

“We have a very good election system and our clerks work hard to make sure everything works properly, but there is always the possibility that we can do more,” he said.

The Secretary of State’s office already works with the Idaho Department of Transportation to verify voter records, but the executive order provides additional security measures by working with the Idaho State Police and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to verify immigration records.

US House of Representatives passes bill requiring proof of citizenship to vote in federal elections

The Executive Order also requires the Secretary of State’s office to provide information in its annual report to the Legislature about efforts to discourage noncitizens from registering to vote and to remove them from Idaho’s voter rolls. In addition, the order clarifies that state agencies may not provide voter registration materials to noncitizens.

“Idaho already has the most secure elections in the country, and it will remain that way,” Little said in a press release on Tuesday. “My Executive Order – the Law “Only citizens will vote” — directs Secretary of State Phil McGrane to work with local county officials to clean up our voter rolls and ensure that Idaho’s elections do not fall victim to the consequences of Biden’s lawless open border.”

Idaho law requires County officials are required to audit voter rolls within 120 days of a general election and are required to remove voters from the rolls who have not voted in the previous four years.

Allowing non-citizens to vote is not a widespread problem in Idaho, says the minister

There is no widespread voter fraud by non-citizens in Idaho’s elections, McGrane said, but there have been cases where non-citizens have registered to vote.

“There are cases where non-citizens have registered,” McGrane said. “As far as I know, the number is in the single digits. That’s very low.”

McGrane said that during his time as Ada County clerk, there was one case in which a non-citizen was prosecuted for voting. He did not recall the outcome of the case, but noted that the penalties are “tough,” especially for voting in a federal election. It is a crime for a non-citizen to falsely claim to be a citizen in a federal election.

McGrane said that when they flag potential noncitizens on the voter rolls, they often come across people who are eligible to vote but whose IDs they simply have not updated or have not been able to provide that information for years.

Phil McGrane
In this file photo, then-candidate for Idaho Secretary of State and Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane speaks with an attendee at the Idaho Republican caucus party on the evening of Nov. 8, 2022, at The Grove in Boise, Idaho. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

“This is an improvement to our process and we are also looking at very basic safeguards to ensure that no one can inadvertently submit and have a registration application processed if they are not a citizen.”

With this process, McGrane said, his office wants to ensure that it does not prevent an eligible citizen from registering or voting. In fact, there is a new attempt to ensure that people who have recently been naturalized register to vote, he said.

“It’s just as important to keep people off the list who don’t belong, but it’s also always important for us to continually try to get more people to register,” he said.

How is the Executive Order different from the proposed constitutional amendment?

McGrane said he has received questions about the differences between this week’s executive order and a proposed amendment to the Idaho Constitution that clarifies that U.S. citizenship is a prerequisite for eligibility to vote in Idaho elections.

Idaho lawmakers approve constitutional amendment voting information for noncitizens

Earlier this year, the Idaho Parliament passed adopted a resolution Proposal submitted by the Secretary of State’s office to amend the Idaho Constitution to add a sentence to the section on the qualifications of electors that reads:

“No person who is not a citizen of the United States shall be entitled to vote in any election in the State of Idaho.”

Idaho residents will vote on the proposed change in the November 5 general election..

Although the proposed constitutional amendment addresses non-citizen voting rights, McGrane said they are different issues.

The order is designed to ensure that noncitizens do not participate in Idaho’s elections, McGrane said, and provides more safeguards and oversight to prevent noncitizens from registering to vote.

There are several cities in the United States where non-citizens are allowed to vote in local elections. NPR reportedNone of these cities are in Idaho.

“The amendment says, ‘No, in Idaho only citizens should vote in our elections, whether federal, state or local,'” McGrane said. “That’s what the amendment is about, whereas this is about procedural issues.”

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