New Memo Allows People Who Fail ID Checks to Register to Vote in PA


Pennsylvania’s State Department issued a directive in 2018 that may allow noncitizens and other ineligible applicants to register to vote, potentially violating the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA), according to a complaint by America First Legal (AFL) and first obtained by Truth Voices.

HAVA requires voters to provide a valid driver’s license number or, if they have no driver’s license, the last four digits of their Social Security number on their registration form. Election officials must then confirm the validity of these numbers by cross-checking with state and federal databases, ensuring prospective voters are eligible. (Notably, foreign nationals can still obtain a Social Security number or driver’s license.)

AFL, partnering with the law firm Zimolong LLC, argues that a 2018 directive from the Pennsylvania Department of State to its 67 counties, which states that voter registration applications “may not be rejected based solely on a non-match between the applicant’s identifying numbers on their application and the comparison database numbers,” violates HAVA and potentially allows ineligible voters — including noncitizens — on the state’s voter rolls.

HAVA states that a voter registration application “may not be accepted or processed by a State unless the application includes” a valid driver’s license number or “the last 4 digits of the applicant’s social security number.” If an applicant has neither, HAVA requires the state to “assign the applicant a number which will serve to identify the applicant for voter registration purposes.”

The AFL complaint alleges that the Pennsylvania directive “erroneously concludes that an application must be accepted if it contains any driver’s license or social security number rather than a valid one belonging to an applicant that can be verified against databases.”

The directive “does not just violate federal law; it creates a regime where an untold number of ineligible voters, including non-citizens, can register to vote in all state and federal elections in the Commonwealth,” according to the complaint.

AFL and Zimolong are seeking to compel the state to repeal the directive and “replace it with a directive that complies with HAVA.” Specifically, they argue that the new directive should require the state to verify the voter’s information prior to approving the application and that counties should reject applications that provide either a driver’s license or social security number “that does not match state databases in accordance with HAVA.”

“The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has adopted and maintained a voter registration process that clearly and unambiguously violates basic federal law intended to provide a minimum baseline of security,” AFL Executive Director Gene Hamilton said in a statement. “The Secretary of State must abandon this unlawful practice and comply with federal law to prevent fraud in elections in Pennsylvania.”

Brianna Lyman
Brianna Lyman
Elections correspondent. Weekly guest on Newsmax. Also seen on Fox Nation.

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