Victor Joecks: It’s easy to vote illegally in Nevada

It’s easy to vote illegally in Nevada. All a non-citizen has to do is go the DMV and ask.

The DMV uses the same form regardless of whether you’re getting a driver’s license, ID card or driver’s authorization card. The latter is for those, like residents who arrive illegally and who can’t meet the proof of identity requirements for the other documents. At the bottom of that form is a voter registration application.

The voter registration form asks if you’re a citizen and if you’re old enough to vote. What’s to stop someone from lying? Nothing and no one.

You could get a driver’s authorization card and tell the clerk that you’re a resident who arrived illegally. The DMV would still send your paperwork to the county registrar.

“The only reason we can deny taking it is because it’s not signed,” DMV spokeswoman Alex Smith said. This isn’t the Legislature’s fault. It’s a federal requirement under the National Voter Registration Act. There’s some rationale to that. The DMV exists to issue driver’s licenses, not confirm citizenship on voter registration forms. Plus, the DMV is far from the only place people register to vote.

The problem is that election officials don’t check citizenship either. Completed voter registration forms go to the county registrar’s office, which sends the data to the secretary of state’s office. The voter registration form does ask for an ID card number and Social Security number. The secretary of state’s office tries to confirm the validity of those to verify identity — not citizenship.

This is inadequate because non-citizens can legally receive licenses and Social Security numbers.

“There are 21,676 driver’s licenses and ID cards held by people in Nevada who are not legally eligible to vote,” said Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, last year on the Senate floor.

But wait. The verification system is even weaker. “If a voter does not have a valid Nevada driver’s license/identification card or a Social Security number, the voter must sign an affidavit attesting to this fact and provide alternate proof of identification and residency before being allowed to vote,” says the SoS website. Neither ID nor residency proves citizenship.

There’s also evidence that non-citizens have voted.

One year ago, Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s office briefly sent the state into an uproar by announcing it had evidence that three non-citizens had voted. Cegavske’s office hasn’t backed away from the claim, but it’s not sharing any details either. There is an “ongoing investigation into that topic, but that’s really all I can say about it,” said Wayne Thorley, deputy secretary of state for elections, when asked recently.

In 2012, the Review-Journal’s Glenn Cook interviewed two illegal immigrants who said the Culinary union pressured them to register to vote. They also said there were other non-citizen Culinary workers registered to vote.

Mention this, and Democrats will dismiss you as a conspiracy theorist or downplay the number of cases as minuscule. The left acts as if illegal voters will simply announce that they’ve committed voter fraud, which is a felony, after each election cycle so society can determine the seriousness of the issue. That’s laughable. Because no one requires voters to prove citizenship — not once, ever — no one knows if the number of illegally registered voters in Nevada is three or 30,000.

That’s because if you want to vote illegally as a non-citizen, the only thing stopping you is you. That’s not good enough.

Victor Joecks is a columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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