The GOP’s platform committee convened in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, expanding the party’s official endorsement of state voter ID laws to include support for similarly divisive proof of citizenship laws. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) submitted an amendment calling for the addition of language to the draft GOP platform expressing support for state legislation that requires voters to show proof of citizenship when registering to vote. The amendment would build on a prior backing of “true, robust photo ID laws,” Kobach said. “We support state laws that require proof of citizenship at the time of voter registration to protect our electoral system against a significant and growing form of voter fraud. Every time that a fraudulent vote is cast, it effectively cancels out the vote of a legitimate voter,” the amendment, later adopted by the committee, read. Kansas and Georgia are the only states that currently have such laws on the books. Measures passed in other states remain mired in legal challenges.
Voting rights advocates have claimed that such legislation, much like voter ID measures, threatens to disenfranchise eligible voters by creating costly obstacles to the registration process. While statistics have shown voting by undocumented immigrants to be uncommon, the possibility of such an occurrence has led to prevention efforts. In Florida, most notably, Gov. Rick Scott (R) insisted that a widespread purge was necessary to remove potential undocumented immigrants from the voter rolls.
Delegates responded positively to Kobach’s proposal, taking the opportunity to speak more broadly in favor of stringent voter ID measures they have insisted are designed to preserve electoral integrity. Tamara Hall from Montana claimed that “vote integrity” was under siege by Democratic-aligned agents.