GOPers Desperate To Pin Blame For Potential Trump 2024 Loss On Non-Citizen Voters ‘Wherever They Are’

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 15: U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) (C), joined by House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) (L) and House Intelligence Ranking Member Jim Himes (D-CT) speak followin... WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 15: U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) (C), joined by House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) (L) and House Intelligence Ranking Member Jim Himes (D-CT) speak following a briefing with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan at the U.S. Capitol on February 15, 2024 in Washington, DC. Russia is developing an anti-satellite weapon that is a cause for concern for the United States but poses no direct threat to people on Earth, the White House said on Thursday. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Election deniers and Republican members of Congress promoted a redundant piece of legislation Wednesday that would outlaw non-citizens from voting in federal elections. The legislation, which is being branded by sponsors of the bill as “one of the most important pieces of legislation that will be presented within our lifetime” is a solution to a problem that simply does not exist. 

On Wednesday, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) along with a handful of Republican representatives and election deniers held a press conference promoting the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act, a bill that would make it illegal for people who are not U.S. citizens to vote in federal elections — something that is already outlawed in the country

Sponsors of the bill, including Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), used the press conference to elevate right-wing talking points about President Joe Biden’s “reckless open borders” and the alleged threat of non-citizens casting ballots that could change the outcome of the election, which experts agree is not an issue. 

Hogan Gidley, vice chair of the Center for Election Integrity at the America First Policy Institute and former Trump White House official, pushed a debunked conspiracy theory that has gained traction among Trump allies in recent weeks. Gidley claimed at one point that the left is deliberately “flooding our country with people here illegally” as a way to “weaken election integrity measures.”

It’s worth noting that last February, Republicans in the Senate worked with Democrats to craft bipartisan immigration legislation that would’ve addressed issues with an influx of migrants trying to enter the country at the U.S.-Mexico border. Republicans were poised to support the measure until Trump urged Republicans to vote against it so he had fodder to criticize Biden’s immigration policies on the campaign trail, describing the legislation as a “great gift to Democrats.”

“It’s a Biden invasion,” Gidley said. “Everyone knows that no one disputes it and at the same time, the left is flooding our country with people here illegally, not by accident, but by design.”

The ongoing myth of non-citizens voting in elections has become an increasingly popular fixation for Republicans ahead of the 2024 election, as Donald Trump and his allies prepare themselves to potentially challenge the election if Trump loses. 

During Wednesday’s press briefing, former Trump adviser and known election denier Cleta Mitchell, without any evidence, implied that noncitizens have already been hard at work devising a plan to disrupt November’s election. 

“Wherever they are, wherever they may be,” Mitchell said, “whatever the plan is to try to manipulate this year’s election with illegals voting in our elections, this bill is essential to make sure that we put a stop to that.”

Mitchell, and other supporters of the legislation, however, failed to mention  that not only is there no evidence that noncitizens have been or will vote en masse in the upcoming election, but there are major incentives in place to discourage non citizens from registering to vote, as TPM has previously reported.

“The biggest single reason not to vote when you’re a non-citizen is that not only is there a serious criminal penalty attached, and not only is there potential for a serious fine attached, but you can be removed from the country,”  Justin Levitt, professor of law at Loyola Law School, previously told TPM in an interview.

And yet, Johnson insisted on Wednesday that the issue is widespread.

 “We all know intuitively that a lot of illegals are voting in federal elections,” he said.

The reason why there is no number to support this claim? Because states lack the mechanisms to prove it, Johnson said. 

“We don’t have that number,” he said. “This legislation will allow us to do exactly that. It will prevent that from happening and if someone tries to do it, it will now be unlawful and the states will have a mechanism to prove whether they are or not.”

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