Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) proposed a bill on Thursday that would make it a deportable crime for illegal immigrants and non-citizens to vote in federal elections.
"While this may sound bizarre to a lot of folks in Washington, illegal aliens and non-citizens have no constitutional right to vote in American elections," Vitter said Thursday. He said that there are some estimates that tens of thousands of non-citizens vote in federal elections, and most Americans agree it is "common sense" to prevent them from voting.
"My bill injects some of that common sense and puts teeth into voter laws so we can uphold the integrity of American elections," he added. "Of course we want immigrants to become voters once they become citizens, but our election system and our right to vote are being taken advantage of because of weak enforcement."
Vitter's bill was introduced less than 50 days before the November election, and during what is expected to be the last week of work for Congress before members return to their states and districts to continue campaigning. As a result, Congress is not expected to have enough time to consider and pass his bill.
Regardless, Senate Democrats would be highly unlikely to consider it. Democrats have argued throughout the year that Republicans are exaggerating the extent of voter fraud in elections.
Democrats have also cast state efforts to require voters to present identification at the voting booth as an attempt to discourage voting by minorities and the elderly.