Democrats Dance Around Whether Illegal Aliens Should Vote

In a Tuesday Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) asked a group of witnesses two simple questions about voting rights. While the two Republicans present gave simple answers confirming their support for voter ID laws, the three Democrats were unable to give a straight answer.

Lee first asked each witness if they believed that only citizens should be able to vote in federal elections.

“We don’t have a position about non-citizens voting in federal elections, we believe that’s what the current laws are, and so we’re certainly fighting for everyone who is eligible under current law to vote,” Executive Director of The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Damon T. Hewitt said.

“That’s a decision of the state law but I want to emphasize –” President of Southwest Voter Registration Education Project Lydia Camarillo said.

“It’s a decision of state law as to who should vote in federal elections?” Lee interrupted.

Camarillo continued: “States decide who gets to vote in various elections, and in federal elections, I believe that we should be encouraging people to naturalize and then vote.”

“Okay, but you’re saying that the federal government should have no say in who votes in a federal election?” Lee asked.

Camarillo claimed she “didn’t have a position” on the matter.

Director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project Sophia Lin Lakin told Lee, “Federal law prohibits non-citizens from voting in federal elections and our focus is on enabling all eligible voters to be able to vote and cast their ballot.”

The two other witnesses, counsel at Public Interest Legal Foundation Maureen Riordan and Manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative at the Heritage Foundation Hans von Spakovsky, both Republicans, agreed wholeheartedly that only citizens should be able to vote.

After that, Lee asked if voters should be required to bring “documentary proof of their citizenship.”

Both Republican witnesses answered with simple agreement.

“I think your first question kind of answers the second. Based upon the applicable rules, federal or state elections, what have you, we know we have to follow those rules. The question is what is the impact of those rules?” Hewitt said.

Camarillo claimed that the question was redundant, and pointed out that “It’s already being asked” whether voters are citizens. While federal law requires that voters check a box confirming that they are citizens, voters aren’t required to provide an ID at the federal level, opening the way for states to allow voters to register without identification.

Lakin more directly opposed the idea of voter ID laws, saying “Documentary proof of citizenship or requirements are often discriminatory.”

Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-TX) had vehemently disagreed earlier in the hearing, claiming that calling voter ID laws discriminatory, as Lakin did, is demeaning and insulting to people of color.

It’s a strange corner the Democrats have backed themselves into with this one.

If they cave and say directly that they’d love for illegal immigrants to vote in U.S. elections, they’ll be criticized endlessly for such a dangerous policy.

If they continue to claim their opposition to voter ID laws is because they’re “discriminatory,” they’ll start to lose support with minority groups, who often dislike the implication that they can’t make it to the DMV because of the color of their skin.