Several blue states across the United States are automatically registering hundreds of thousands of residents to vote each year whenever they interact with state agencies, including welfare offices, a report from journalist John Fund details.
The report, issued by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, documents the Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) policy now imposed by 23 states and the District of Columbia. All but three of these states are blue states controlled by Democrats.
Fund authored the 2021 book Our Broken Elections: How the Left Changed the Way You Vote with The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky.
In his report, Fund details how states with AVR get residents on voter rolls when people interact with state agencies — including welfare offices, motor vehicle offices, and unemployment offices.
AVR is often coupled with a lack of voter roll maintenance, according to Fund, which leads to major election issues in which ineligible voters, including foreign nationals, are wrongfully registered to vote for years:[AVR] also would register people using information in various existing state and federal government databases, which predictably will lead to the registration of large numbers of ineligible individuals such as aliens and felons, as well as multiple or duplicate registrations of the same individual, both in the same and different states.
Under federal law, the 1993 National Voter Registration Act and the 2002 Help America Vote Act require states to maintain accurate voter lists. [Emphasis added]
Nonetheless, some state politicians ignore this law. In 2017, Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia vetoed a measure mandating investigations of elections in which ballots outnumbered eligible voters. [Emphasis added]
Even more suspiciously, when then-GOP Governor Rick Scott tried to obey these laws and update Florida’s records, including deleting 51,308 deceased voters, Obama’s Justice Department sued to stop him. [Emphasis added]
A major scandal hit Pennsylvania in 2017, after it was revealed that thousands of foreign nationals were registered to vote over two decades while getting their driver’s licenses or other forms of state ID. [Emphasis added]
Those foreign nationals who unwittingly register or are registered by the government by mistake have their immigration status jeopardized. These mistakes can even lead to deportation. State Department officials identified more than 100,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania who might lack U.S. citizenship. Whatever the actual number, there no denying it was a real problem since effectively the only thing preventing non-citizens from voting is an honor system. [Emphasis added]
The Public Interest Legal Foundation requested under federal election transparency laws that the State Department provide documents to show their work to identify the 100,000 potential foreign nationals. When Torres refused the request, the foundation sued in federal court. Torres himself was forced to resign as more details on the scandal emerged. [Emphasis added]
Most recently, in 2023, Colorado dealt with a massive election scandal as it came to light that Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s (D) office mistakenly sent mailers to more than 31,000 foreign nationals asking them to register to vote just weeks before the midterm elections.
In 2022, Griswold’s office called AVR “an overwhelming success” since more than a quarter of a million Colorado residents had been registered to vote since May 2020 after the policy went into effect.