Could non-citizens decide the November election?

Could control of the Senate in 2014 be decided by illegal votes cast by non-citizens? Some argue that incidents of voting by non-citizens are so rare as to be inconsequential, with efforts to block fraud a screen for an agenda to prevent poor and minority voters from exercising the franchise, while others define such incidents as a threat to democracy itself. Both sides depend more heavily on anecdotes than data.

In a forthcoming article in the journal Electoral Studies, we bring real data from big social science survey datasets to bear on the question of whether, to what extent, and for whom non-citizens vote in U.S. elections. Most non-citizens do not register, let alone vote. But enough do that their participation can change the outcome of close races.

Our data comes from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES). Its large number of observations (32,800 in 2008 and 55,400 in 2010) provide sufficient samples of the non-immigrant sub-population, with 339 non-citizen respondents in 2008 and 489 in 2010. For the 2008 CCES, we also attempted to match respondents to voter files so that we could verify whether they actually voted.

How many non-citizens participate in U.S. elections? More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote. Furthermore, some of these non-citizens voted. Our best guess, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010.

Estimated Voter Turnout by Non-Citizens
2008 2010
Self reported and/or verified 38 (11.3%) 13 (3.5%)
Self reported and verified 5 (1.5%) N.A.
Adjusted estimate 21 (6.4%) 8 (2.2%)

Because non-citizens tended to favor Democrats (Obama won more than 80 percent of the votes of non-citizens in the 2008 CCES sample), we find that this participation was large enough to plausibly account for Democratic victories in a few close elections. Non-citizen votes could have given Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health-care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) won election in 2008 with a victory margin of 312 votes. Votes cast by just 0.65 percent of Minnesota non-citizens could account for this margin. It is also possible that non-citizen votes were responsible for Obama’s 2008 victory in North Carolina. Obama won the state by 14,177 votes, so a turnout by 5.1 percent of North Carolina’s adult non-citizens would have provided this victory margin.

We also find that one of the favorite policies advocated by conservatives to prevent voter fraud appears strikingly ineffective. Nearly three quarters of the non-citizens who indicated they were asked to provide photo identification at the polls claimed to have subsequently voted.

Nah, there is no such thing as voter fraud.

Who are you going to believe, Democrat ward bosses or your own lying eyes?


Is it charitable to use a pejorative against one of American’s two major parties? I think you know the answer to that question and that you an apology.

What was the pejorative I used toward Democrats? Ward boss? That isn’t a pejorative, just a title. By that logic being called a union boss is a pejorative too.

Are you saying that there are no Democrat ward bosses?

And was your attack at me your very first post? I see at this moment you only have two to your account.

Come on. Are those ward bosses going to trust non-citizens to vote the “right” way? They will just cast votes for them.:rolleyes: At least that is how it used to be done in Chicago. We had whole cemeteries full of straight ticket voters who could not vote for themselves.

What I find mindblowing is that in the 21st century, the leading superpower is unable to determine who is a citizen and who is not.

Al Franken (D) became a senator thanks to the felon vote.
And his vote made the difference in getting Obamacare passed.

When 1,099 felons vote in race won by 312 ballots

And even with the small number of illegal votes by “non-citizens” as stated in the title of this thread, that would have given him more votes as well. I think one of the articles looking at the Washington Post article says this.

There needs to be action definitely if a candidate is elected fraudultently.

The adjective to describe a member of the Democratic Party is “Democratic,” not “Democrat.”

But you knew that (or you’re too ignorant to comment on American politics). Show some decency and apologize.

If you are offended, you should report it to a moderator if you find the use of the word unacceptable. If you don’t think it merits that, I’d question the validity of your point.

Reported (as requested).

I find it more troubling to back a party that endorses abortion.

By the way, no one used the word that you find as a pejorative because no one mentioned “party”.

It is also an offensive term when used as an adjective, for example a “Democrat politician” instead of a “Democratic politician.”

I find it much more troubling to back a party that backs abortion.


I think you are just trying to derail the discussion.

What does one call a single member of the Democratic Party other than ‘Democrat’ as in ‘He is a Democrat’? You wouldn’t say ‘He is a Democratic.’

This is the kind of pointless semantic victimization claim that simply makes a mockery of the entire subject of pejorative terms as whole.

The GOP needs to fight this, but they don’t have a good track record in this regard and there is some kind of out of court settlement that they are still bound by from the 70’s that prevents them from doing much.

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