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Mueller’s chase ignores the real foreign influence in our elections

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Robert Mueller’s quest to identify foreign influence in the 2016 election rolls on, but for nine years, the same Justice Department ignored real foreign influence: noncitizens voting. Claiming that alien voting is a myth ignores a growing body of data, all of it obtained under threat of lawsuits. While Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein are zealously rooting out Russian tweets that said rough things about Hillary Clinton, they are ignoring case after case of foreigners registering and voting.

Rosenstein oversees the Justice Department’s election crimes branch, which is headed by Richard Pilger. This unit has been made aware of serious problems of alien registration and voting as far back as 2012. Unlike Mueller’s investigation, the Justice Department hasn’t brought a single indictment in nine years for alien voting.

{mosads}When you don’t enforce criminal laws prohibiting foreigners from voting, you get more foreigners voting. Rosenstein should be as zealous in supporting prosecutions for direct foreign influence in our elections as he is in worrying about Russian tweets. When an alien registers and votes, they violate two federal felony statutes and one misdemeanor statute. Federal law authorizes nine years in prison for alien voters.

These crimes are easy to prove because the federal voter registration form requires two affirmations under oath that they are citizens. The form plainly warns that it is a felony for an alien to register. If they vote, it’s another federal felony. Surely you’ve heard there is no problem with aliens voting. This is not true. We don’t know the extent of the problem because nobody wants to ask, especially rabid foes of President Trump’s election integrity commission, on which I served. Public records put truth to the lie that aliens aren’t voting.

My organization has found aliens registering and voting in Virginia, New Jersey, Texas and Pennsylvania. Remember, control of the Virginia House of Representatives was decided by a coin toss. One single illegal vote can disrupt the consent of the governed.  We know the names of many of the aliens who have been voting in American elections, despite efforts to conceal them.

In places like Pittsburgh, notices from local election officials to an alien are so commonplace, they are fill-in-the-name form letters. Felipe Rojas Orta received one last year after being on the rolls for eight years and casting a ballot for president in 2016. Three days before President Trump was inaugurated, Orta scratched a handwritten note saying, “I wish to cancel my voting registration because I am not a citizen.”

Mildred Nyama also received a similar letter from Pittsburgh election officials. Election records show that she voted in the 2008, 2012 and the 2016 presidential elections. Othman Al Amoudi registered through the Pennsylvania Motor Voter process in 2005, and he voted. He was finally cancelled as a noncitizen in 2012.

Some of these aliens are a victims of a broken Motor Voter registration system at state transportation agencies. Passed by Congress in 1993, Motor Voter was designed to make it easier to register. It has been successful on that score, but has also made it disturbingly easy for foreigners to influence our elections.

Devanathan Mudaliar was an alien who registered to vote at a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation office in August 2012. Four years later, he asked election officials to cancel his registration as he was “inadvertently registered through some unknown system issue.”

I had to threaten a federal lawsuit before election officials in Pittsburgh provided these records. These examples barely scratch the surface. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania state election officials are still concealing the true extent of the “unknown system issue” that led to Mudaliar’s improper registration and the full extent of alien voting in the Keystone State.

This week, my organization sued state election officials in federal court to obtain the alien registration records they are concealing. Ironically, the same broken law that is facilitating alien registration and voting — the 1993 Motor Voter Act — is the law that gives us the right to sue to obtain the records of their mistakes.

The problem isn’t confined to these four states. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told me “aliens registering and voting is real. In Kansas we discovered more than 100 specific cases of aliens registering or attempting to register.” His database search was limited because he only had the unique “alien identifier” number for fraction of those on the rolls.

A voter registration card virtually immunizes an alien from Border Patrol scrutiny. That’s why a human smuggling operation along the Rio Grande in Texas used fake voter registrations. Some claim aliens have no incentive to be registered to vote because it threatens their status. The opposite is true. Only Congress can fix the defects in Motor Voter. Until that happens, it’s time for the Justice Department to start prosecuting the real foreign influence in elections.

J. Christian Adams is president and general counsel for the Public Interest Legal Foundation and a former lawyer at the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served on the Presidential Advisory Commission for Election Integrity.

Tags Donald Trump Elections Hillary Clinton Robert Mueller Rod Rosenstein Russia

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