Illegal immigration might not be popular among American voters, especially in the Southwest, but two judges sitting on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit have decided the way to fix that is to let the illegal aliens vote. Allowing Illegal Votes From the Bench

Illegal immigration might not be popular among American voters, especially in the Southwest, but two judges sitting on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit have decided the way to fix that is to let the illegal aliens vote.

That's right, on November 7, perhaps thousands of illegal aliens will go to the polls in Arizona and cast their ballots -- and those illegal votes will be counted just the same as the legal votes cast by American citizens.  Indeed, according to a four-sentence order issued last week by two Ninth Circuit judges, the illegal aliens who show up at the polls cannot even be asked to present identification before casting their ballots.

Specifically, the two Ninth Circuit judges told the State of Arizona last week that it could not enforce the voter identification requirements of Proposition 200, also known as the "Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act."

Arizonans overwhelmingly passed Proposition 200 just two years ago to deal with the illegal immigration pouring in from Mexico, costing the state and its taxpayers more and more each year.  The solution seemed entirely sensible.

The law doesn't prevent any legal immigrant from fully enjoying the privileges of living and working in Arizona, rather Proposition 200 simply instructs public officials to check identity and immigration status of anyone who applies for "state and local public benefits."  And, to stem the tide of illegal immigration, the law goes one step further, telling public officials to report any illegal aliens discovered to the proper federal authorities.

Proposition 200 also includes similar safeguards for voter registration and elections.  Under the law, a person who wants to register to vote in Arizona must prove that he or she is a citizen, and, when that person goes to the polls to cast a ballot, the voter must simply present identification.  Indeed, under Proposition 200, the voter doesn't even have to show a driver's license or other state-issued photo ID, but instead can present two other forms of identification so long as they include the person's name and address, say a utility bill and a bank statement, as noted on the Arizona Secretary of State's website.  No big deal, right?

Well, it wasn't a big deal until last week.  A federal district judge -- a Clinton appointee, no less -- refused to block Proposition 200's voter identification requirements before Arizona's primary in September, and the election went off without a hitch.  In fact, because voters are now allowed to cast provisional ballots, even a voter showing up at the polls without the proper identification "was entitled to cast a provisional ballot and appear within three days at the county election office with proper identification for the ballot to be counted," according to the East Valley Tribune newspaper.  In other words, there was never any reason that any legal voter would be prevented from casting his or her ballot and having it counted.

But that wasn't enough for two judges on the Ninth Circuit.  Instead, four days before the voter registration deadline for the general election, the two Ninth Circuit judges -- who, like the district judge, were Clinton appointees, but more liberally so -- granted an emergency motion for an injunction, blocking Proposition 200's voter identification requirements.  The result: people registering to vote in Arizona didn't have to prove they were citizens, and when they show up at the polls they won't have to show any identification.  This is all the more disappointing since, according to Robert Robb of the Arizona Republic, "the announced intent of some activist groups [was] to rush out and sign up as many people as possible who couldn't otherwise register to vote -- in other words, those who cannot establish that they are truly citizens and legally eligible to vote."

Arizona's Attorney General, Terry Goddard -- who also happens to be a Democrat, though a sensible one on this issue -- has announced that he will ask the Supreme Court of the United States to reinstate Proposition 200's voter identification requirements in time for the November 7 election.  But such a swift and decisive action is unlikely.  The more likely result is that far more votes will be cast and counted than are legally allowed, and many illegal aliens will vote in their first American election.  After all, why should they bother to become citizens legally when the Ninth Circuit is willing to permit them to act that way illegally?

October 13, 2006
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