Legislation to require proof of U.S. citizenship before registering to vote in Virginia elections passed the Republican-controlled House of Delegates Wednesday on a 64-33 vote along party lines. Echoing President Donald Trump’s claim, made without evidence, that millions of people in the country illegally have made it onto the voter rolls, the GOP-sponsored bill would apply to state and local elections because citizenship tests are not allowed in federal elections. Citizenship could be proved with a birth certificate, passport, naturalization document or other record accepted under federal law. Anyone registered to vote as of Jan. 1, 2018, would not have to prove their citizenship.
…A conservative legal group, the Public Interest Legal Foundation, claimed in a report last year that it had found more than 1,000 cases of non-citizens on Virginia’s voter rolls and would likely find more with better access to election records.
Democratic lawmakers and some election officials cast doubt on the report’s accuracy, saying the group had misinterpreted the data and that many of the cases may involve citizens who erred on their paperwork.
If the bill passes the Senate, it would almost certainly be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who has emphasized voting accessibility and this year called for repealing the state’s voter photo ID law.