|EXCLUSIVE: Hundreds of Illegals Have Registered to Vote in Bexar County
Officials are confident new procedures will purge them from the rolls
WOAI News | May 16, 2007
Hundreds of illegal immigrants have registered to vote in Bexar County in recent years and dozens of them have actually cast ballots, canceling out the votes of U.S. citizens, 1200 WOAI news will report Thursday morning.
Figures obtained by 1200 WOAI news shows 303 illegals successfully registered to vote, and at least 41 cast ballots in various elections.
Bexar County Elections Administrator Jackie Callanan confirmed the figures, but she says a new form of voter registration card, which requires people to swear they are citizens when they register, should help cut the problem, because people who vote illegally can be charged with perjury.
And the county has some sly ways to catch them.
"Maybe they have received a jury summons, the jury wheel relies on registered voters. They send a statement to the jury room that says they are not U.S. citizens and then we get that report immediately," Callanan says.
It's a hot issue in the Texas Legislature, where republicans are pushing a bill that would require voters to show some form of identification before voting.
"Considering that a photo ID is required to buy Sudafed, I can't understand why anyone would argue that the same standard, if not a higher standard, should apply to voting," Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst said. "Why would any Texan oppose legislation that ensures only U.S. citizens vote in elections?"
While not taking a position on the legislation, Callanan warned that any law that required that people present ID at the polling place might actually discourage people from voting.
"It will be cumbersome to have them presented at the polls," she said. "The lines will be longer. It will require an additional check."
Some Democrats in the Legislature have fought the proposal, saying it would keep the poor and minorities, who generally vote Democratic, away from the polls. A key Democratic Senator and Dewhurst got into an argument on the floor of the Senate over the emotional issue.
Callanan says if an ID law is approved, she hopes a process is in place to allow the Secretary of State, not the individual poll judges at the polling places, to inspect the identification and certify that a voter is fit to vote.
Dewhurst says the legislation has been rewritten to make it as easy as possible for a person to prove their legal citizenship.
"Voters can now present military ID, valid employee ID, citizenship certificate, passport, student ID card, handgun permit, utility bill, bank statement, pay stub, mail from a government entity, marriage license, birth certificate, adoption certificate, pilot's license, hunting license, or even a library card," Dewhurst said. "What's so hard about this?"