Abdel showed up at his local Pennsylvania motor vehicle office to take his driver’s license test — and walked out having registered to vote, even though he is not a citizen.
He said his command of English isn’t good and the computer system was unclear, but he somehow managed to sign up even though he knew he shouldn’t.
Then there was Angelo, who figured he could vote because he joined the U.S. military, even though he wasn’t a citizen. He, too, signed up at the Pennsylvania motor vehicle bureau and registered as a Democrat. He then voted nearly every year from 2001 through 2014.
He finally wrote to Allegheny County asking to be stricken from the rolls, saying he had been ineligible all along.
Angelo and Abdel are some of the more than 130 people the county has nixed from its voter lists in recent years after discovering they weren’t U.S. citizens and should never have been allowed to register, much less vote, according to a report being released Thursday from the Public Interest Legal Foundation.
Of those, nearly 40 went on to vote in elections before they were removed from the lists, the foundation found.
The vast majority of the people reported themselves only when they did try to seek citizenship or some other immigration benefit — and learned that illegal registration or voting, both felonies, could be hurdles for their applications.
J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, said it’s impossible to say how many others haven’t been caught because they haven’t reported themselves.
“There’s no doubt that there is far more and far worse. These are just the people who wrote in [saying], ‘Since I’m not a citizen, take me off the roll.’ These are the people who wanted to fix it,” he said. “If you deny this is happening, you’re part of the problem at this point.”...Indeed, while it’s not the massive level of fraud that President Trump complained about last year, the 139 cases in one county in one state are more than the near-zero level that the president’s critics have postulated. One local official in Pennsylvania has estimated that 100,000 illegitimate voters are on the state’s rolls, thanks to problems with PennDOT’s system and its inability to weed out fraud.Muddied listsUnder the 1993 federal “motor voter” law, people who show up to renew licenses or transact other business at motor vehicle bureaus are supposed to be asked if they want to register to vote. The form relies on the honor system for people to swear they are citizens.The goal of the law was to boost election participation — but it also muddied voting lists.Allegheny County officials spotted evidence of the problem as far back as 2008 and alerted state officials. The Public Interest Legal Foundation said there is no evidence that the state corrected the