PILF Inquiry into Noncitizen Voting Gains Traction

PILF will gain access to Chesterfield and Manassas documentation on noncitizen voting.
PILF will gain access to Chesterfield and Manassas documentation on noncitizen voting.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) has closed lawsuits against Chesterfield County and the City of Manassas, a step that will allow the organization to determine the total number of noncitizens, known to authorities, who registered and voted illegally.

Under the U.S. motor-voter law, citizens are allowed to register to vote when they pick up their driver’s licenses. Some non-citizens register illegally and later cast ballots. Sometimes registrars spot the illegal registrations and remove the non-citizens from the voter rolls. PILF has obtained the documentation for such instances for eight Virginia jurisdictions, but many, including Chesterfield and Manassas, refused to cooperate, citing privacy laws.

“These are positive steps toward quantifying the true extent of noncitizen voter registration in Virginia,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said in a web post. “Washington and Richmond alike are positioned to consider various election integrity reforms and are right to do so. Those discussions deserve precise data like we’ve obtained.”

PILF’s data dive into the eight cooperating localities found that registrars had uncovered more than 1,000 illegally registered noncitizens and documented that some 200 of them had cast ballots. If the magnitude of noncitizen voting holds true in other Virginia localities, it is possible that more than a thousand noncitizens have cast ballots statewide.

Such a number would fall far short of assertions by President Trump that noncitizens contributed millions of illegal votes nationally but it also would contradict widespread media claims that noncitizen voting is negligible. The data does not include noncitizens whose illegal registrations were not discovered by local registrars.

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32 responses to “PILF Inquiry into Noncitizen Voting Gains Traction”

  1. You have to wonder why they didn’t figure this out beforehand.

  2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    A citizen has the right to vote and the right not to see her/his vote diluted by illegal votes. Both rights must be protected.

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    How would you fix this?

  4. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    VN, some have suspected this is what Motor Voter was all about. So step one you could repeal the motor voter system. The House of Delegates has a bill, which I do not like, requiring proof of citizenship at the time of registration. That is a tough requirement, basically either a birth certificate or a passport, and many valid citizens would not be able to meet that. During the debate on the bill yesterday Bob Marshall cited several examples he has run across where people who were not citizens got added to the voter list at DMV, and even people who found themselves added to the voter list for a second time because they had gone to DMV to renew something. He said it happened to the GOP county chairman, who found himself on a list of “newly registered’” voters. You can accuse Trump of hyperbole, and he is dreaming if he thinks he won the popular vote without those folks (some voted for him I’m sure!), but they do exist.

    1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      Motor Voter should be repealed and individuals required to provide proof of citizenship, which has become much easier to do because of the universal presence of birth certificates. Adoptees in Virginia, for example, receive a new birth certificate showing their American citizenship. And many states have similar procedures and many have been recording births electronically for 20 years or so. Those citizens naturalized have access to their papers as well. I think Steve may have overstated the case for difficulty.

      Of course, that will not cover 100% and the system needs to include the ability to prove citizenship through other means by the presentation of probative evidence. Voter registration drives should occur now, well before the 2017 Virginia elections.

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    People who are not legally present are going to risk getting discovered by voting?

    I think we’re looking at mostly mistakes as opposed to overt attempts to commit fraud – which I notice the PLIF itself is not characterizing this that way but instead as “illegal actions” and “errors”

    I also point out that of late discussions have been ongoing about people registered to vote in two or 3 different states … like Md, Dc, and Va which apparently do not have procedures for removing people who have left.

    We do need better procedures and we do need to insure that the system cannot be purposely defrauded – for all types of potential methods but to continue to focus this on immigration and what amounts to continuing de-facto suppression really undermines the credibility of those who say they just want to “stop” illegal voting. We have a long and dishonorable history of voter suppression and it continues. There are millions of people who work or are home-bound who cannot easily vote that should be accommodated.

    We have a responsibility to not only make sure that those who should not vote – should not – but also to make sure that everyone who can vote – can and not engage in surreptitious efforts to prevent people from voting.

    1. Larry, for once you are correct! There is no evidence in the PILF documentation that noncitizens knowingly registered illegally. They might have registered accidentally or out of confusion of the rules. (Some might have registered illegally — we have no way of knowing.) So, the purpose here is not to bash noncitizens or make allegations of fraud. The point is simply to note that some noncitizens do register, and some fraction of them do vote illegally. Only in rare, incredibly close elections would these voters change the outcome. But it is an issue that needs to be addressed.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        upthread – TMT advocates a much stricter process and I would support that with two important provisos:

        1. that the State take direct responsibility for making sure that every
        citizen who wants to vote and is entitled to vote – be provided with
        the credentials proactively from the state rather than it becoming an obstacle to any citizen that keeps them from voting.

        2. – that we allow the strictly-vetted voters – the ability to vote EASILY – absentee and other methods.

        In other words – I’m pretty convinced that we have a ton more people who are valid citizens who do not vote because of existing obstacles than “illegals” … but I’m willing to do the strict vetting in exchange for easier voting.

        oh… and if we keep agreeing on things Jim – it’s going to be a struggle!


        1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

          Larry – I agree in part. If a person proves citizenship and residency and does not have the economic wherewithal to afford identification, I support the state providing such an ID without charge. Upon presenting proper proof of citizenship and residency, a person should be able to request and receive an ID within no more than a couple weeks — if that. There should be equipment to take a photo just like at the DMV.

          I’m not sure the existing absentee voting system is broken. It allows for a significant number of reasons to vote absentee. A person who is working or out of town can get an absentee ballot. One only need look at one’s schedule and determine if there is a strong likelihood one will be unable to vote that day. If so, vote absentee. I was scheduled to be in Denver on election day, so I voted absentee. As it turned out, at the last minute, the judge postponed the trial indefinitely. I don’t expect I’ll be arrested.

  6. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    “If the magnitude of noncitizen voting holds true in other Virginia localities, it is possible that more than a thousand noncitizens have cast ballots statewide.”

    Maybe. Maybe not. This “public interest” group is a shill for right-wingers who want to keep people from voting by making it harder to register.

    They have not produced any credible evidence that thousands of ineligible Virginians are voting.

    Recycling their material just lends them credence.

  7. “They have not produced any credible evidence that thousands of ineligible Virginians are voting.”

    But PILF has documented 200 instances of noncitizen voting in just eight Virginia localities. The organization wants to review the documentation for the other 100+ Virginia jurisdictions, so we can find out how just widespread the problem is.

    Criticizing PILF as “right wingers” doesn’t change the facts.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      The key point here is that almost assuredly the voting system (the collection, tallying and counting of votes is corrupt, given that the word “corrupt” includes improper votes cast and tallied and counted by reason of incompetence, carelessness, faulty technology, bogus documentation, and or inaccurate record keeping, as well as intentional malfeasance.

      We can be confident of “corruption here” by reason of the fact that there are so many ways our current systems can go wrong, and because of the overwhelmingly widespread corruption in today’s American Society and the collapse of its culture, and its Federal and state and local government in particular.

      The Hot Button Nature of this issue, the vicious attacks on anyone who merely suggests that this matter be investigated is also sure evidence that a growing fire will be found where there is now so much smoke.

      In addition, the power to manipulate votes grows daily in terms of technology, including most particularly its growing ability to focus now on areas where a few votes in targeted jurisdictions will have cumulative impact by swinging states within the electoral college.

      In short, this a big and growing problem, which if remedied now will short circuit huge problem, including the growing possibility of violent revolutions later on.

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        My point made here yesterday regarding the corruption of our election voting systems was proven in today’s Wall Street Journal article titled:

        “Voter Fraud a Myth? That’s Not What New York Investigators Found” – The Wall Street Journal, February 1, 2017.

  8. As an aside, I am willing to wager that the biggest problem with voter registration is processing the large number of people who move in and out of different jurisdictions. Both my sister and my daughter have been denied the right to vote because of registration-related red tape. This is a problem that no one is talking about — presumably because it doesn’t advance a partisan narrative.

  9. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Let’s assume that the 200 people are willful liars who cheated when they registered to vote. There are maybe 3 million voters in Virginia. It’s still a tiny number. You keep repeating this narrative so it sounds like it is much bigger.
    And suggesting it could be 1,000 is ludicrous. Why not say 175,000? How about 565,000?
    None of the major newspapers has found massive voter fraud that Trump suggests, which is disingenuous anyway because he won the election. They have examined about every aspect of 2016’s bizarre campaign. And now you are seeing some truly scary incompetence in the White House.
    Giving space to this so-called public interest group makes about as much sense as Bannon at Breitbart peddling conspiracy theories in his hard right world.

  10. LarrytheG Avatar

    I agree with Peter – this group .. look at the things they’ve been involved in
    and look at this issue.. I don’t see them as an objective or legitimate public interest group… and I wonder who funds them.

  11. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    If there aren’t many people voting unlawfully, it would show in a careful investigation. I don’t think the Democrats want a careful investigation. That suggests the problem may be bigger than we think.

    Also, any non-citizen who votes in an American election should be guilty of a crime. I don’t think the good people of Mexico or France would let me vote there.

  12. elena siddall Avatar
    elena siddall

    Voter fraud is not a myth, as the Left wish those ignorant, gullible right-wingers to believe.


    The 2015 version asked the applicant: “Are you a citizen of the United States?” The newest form makes this question into a declarative statement “I am a citizen of the United States”, with a YES/NO check the box.
    The check box re: SSN, “ I have not been issued a SSN” is bull-
    Then we come to “Gender”-fill in the blank. How does the computer register this information? Facebook lists 58—YES! 58—categories of accepted gender choices/ designations.

    This started way back, in early the 1980s- and was a prescient, brilliant idea guided to its fruition by Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, ACORN and Barack Obama.
    The fraud is in the Voter Registration Form (in Virginia), where, the first item: “I am a citizen of the United States of America” is a Yes/No checkbox, no verification via supporting document(s) required. Then one can vote, presenting a (1) photo ID. This is true of all states that comply with the Motor-Voter law.
    The issue of “dead voters” or ” multi state voters” is simply a distraction, as the numbers are minuscule, compared with total votes cast. It is the illegal, the non-citizen voter, who represents potential millions, given the left’s encouragement and screams of “voter suppression” to intimidate supporters of the law ,allowing only “citizens” to vote, that constitutes the voter fraud. No, not tinkered- with voting machines.
    Project Vote – Wikipedia1.
    Project Vote is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that works to mobilize … Project VOTE! is best remembered for a highly successful Chicago voter registration drive run by Barack Obama in 1992. Project Vote in its present …
    Articles: How Chicago and Obama Globalized Voter Fraud
    2. Dec 30, 2012 – How Chicago and Obama Globalized Voter Fraud …. To do so he passed theMotor Voter Law, which contains a loophole stating that a … Barack Obama representedACORN and successfully sued the Republican governor of …
    The National Voter Registration Act Of 1993 (NVRA) | CRT …
    Sep 1, 2016 – The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (also known as the “NVRA” or “motor voter law”) sets forth certain voter registration requirements with respect to elections for federal office. Section 5 of the NVRA requires that States offer voter registration opportunities at State motor vehicle agencies.
    3.What voter registration opportunity is required by Section 5 of the NVRA?
    Each State motor vehicle driver’s license application (including any renewal application) submitted to a State motor vehicle authority must serve as a simultaneous voter registration application unless the applicant fails to sign the voter registration application. This application for voter registration must be considered as updating any previous voter registration by the applicant.

  13. LarrytheG Avatar

    it makes no sense for someone who is an “illegal” to risk getting caught by trying to vote fraudulently.. these folks try to NOT get discovered…

    1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      But it’s probably a good way to make $20. Under today’s system, the odds of getting caught are pretty slim.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        you’re going to risk getting deported over $20? good grief!

        what the………

        the folks that worry about this seem totally unconcerned that we have thousands of people who cannot vote that should be able to …

        sorry – conspiracy theories do not get any sympathy from me.

        this would be a total non issue if had easier voting for valid citizens.. they would overwhelm any numbers of “illegals”..

        1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

          So how many people did Obama deport the last few years of his term? Not many.

          Who cannot vote? Do they make a reasonable effort to register? It’s like driving a car. One has to make the effort to obtain a license. And registering to vote is a lot easier.

          BTW, the Spring Hill Rec Center in Fairfax County runs a pre-school program. On the door is a sign that says “Photo IDs are necessary to pick up a child each and every time.”

  14. LarrytheG Avatar


    it’s a conspiracy theory TMT – plain and simple. No one who is here illegally is going to do anything that could lead to them being exposed. These folks are petrified to get a speeding ticket or have any contact with law enforcement for any reason – even someone reporting that they saw them at the voting precinct and told the police they knew they were illegals.

    it’s basically a conspiracy theory for those who are gullible enough to believe it.

    and again – for the folks that think that way – if they ALSO were in favor of making it easier for people who ARE boni-fide citizens to vote easier – then I might find some merit in their views.. but it’s more along the lines of suppressing the vote as much as possible.

    I’d go for much stricter vetting if that’s what folks want – PROVIDED we make it easier for valid citizens to vote – at the same time.

    otherwise, we kind of know the true motives.. of those who want to stop people from voting – whether they are legal or not..

    I truly don’t know how you would have much stricter vetting without making it much harder for some citizens to vote and maybe that’s what is really wanted, anyhow, eh?

    ever single person who is a citizen should have the right to vote – EASILY…
    do that -and you’ll get me on board with the stricter vetting.

  15. LarrytheG Avatar

    here’s deportation data – looks like a substantial number have been deported:


    on average the Virginia share of 400,000+ in one year is about 7,000 people a year or almost 30,000 people over 4 years. that’s a LOT of people compared to the numbers some folks are claiming vote “illegally”.

    With regard to PILF and like-minded, – legitimate and credible public interest groups AND citizens – not only point out issues, they advocate for solutions – to remedy the problem rather than advocating nothing and engaging in “anti” sentiment against other people whose primary sin is looking for work to support their families.

    so what is PILF actually advocating FOR? And perhaps one good question is how do registrars find out right now who has voted illegally? Perhaps PILF and those with similar concerns could outline current procedures, point out the flaws and failings, and propose reforms … that is , if that is their actual motive… rather than just stirring up angry hate… against “them”.

    Finally, for ALL advocacy groups, we SHOULD SHOW their funding.. THEY should want us to know their funding and do so transparently on their website.

    When Jim cites these so-called “public-interest” groups… there are two troubling things often present:

    1. – they do not disclose who funds them

    2. – they don’t have proposed solutions.. and instead of proposing specific reforms they often attack institutions and people and imply that they are not doing what they should be doing and part of some “conspiracy” to look the other way when they “know” illegals are present and doing nothing about it.

    In this particular situation, they are actually using the data provided freely by some of the registrars to essentially indict them for not doing “more” about the illegals. Other registrars are not so keen on handing over something that will then be used as a weapon against them.

    What is PILF really after and what are the folks who highlight PILF efforts really after if there is no specific reforms in their message?

    As a country whose very core heritage rests on immigration, we sure have become something else pretty ugly… we now encourage hate and distrust of those not like us… pretty sad

    and the thing is – if we REALLY want to get rid of “illegals”, it’s a simple solution that Canada has been using for decades.. and it’s called a Worker Guest Visa program – and instead of secretly-funded groups demonizing races or classes of people – the focus is rightly on employers who violate the law, something you seldom if ever hear as advocated reforms from groups like PILF.

    So basically these groups – who do have the opportunity to seek meaningful reforms – instead, choose to stoke the fires of hate and distrust towards those who are “not our kind”.

    When I hear PILF and those that agree with them – make that a part of their message – I’ll reconsider my view that their motives are sincere and just.

    1. “These groups … choose to stoke the fires of hate and distrust towards those who are “not our kind”.

      If you’re referring to PILF, I defy you to find an example of rhetoric in their study or press releases that “stokes the fires of hate and distrust.”

      Such a statement is designed to de-legitimize a viewpoint with which you disagree by tarring it as a “hate” group, with no supporting evidence whatsoever.

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        I agree Jim.

      2. LarrytheG Avatar

        Do a search on PILF and “illegal” and see what you get in the way of
        groups who key off of PILF .. with direct quotes from PILF.. :

        this is but one – there are dozens…

        “Illegal Foreign Voting in Virginia Covered Up by Soros-Backed Democratic Officials, Says Report

        Posted October 2nd, 2016 for American Civil Rights Union

        This column by Neil W. McCabe was published October 2, 2016 by Breitbart News.

        Virginia’s election officials are enabling illegal registration and voting by foreign citizens, according to an extensive new study, titled “Alien Invasion in Virginia,” by a former Department of Justice civil rights lawyer.
        “Virginia election officials don’t seem to care that thousands of [foreign] aliens have corrupted their voter rolls,” by illegally registering to vote, said J. Christian Adams, the former Department of Justice lawyer, and now the president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation. “Even worse than doing nothing about it, they are trying to cover it up,” he told Breitbart News.

        Even small amounts of illegal voting can make a decisive difference — Democratic Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring defeated Republican Mark Obenshain in 2013 by a mere 165 votes out of 2.2 million votes cast.

        But “in the eight [out of 130-plus] jurisdictions that provided us with lists of aliens recently removed from their voter rolls, we discovered that 31 non-citizens had cast a total of 186 votes between 2005 and 2015,” said the report, given first to Breitbart News.

        This is just a fraction of the aliens caught in just eight counties in a state with over 130 counties,“This is just a fraction of the aliens caught in just eight counties in a state with over 130 counties,” Adams said. “Even with such a small sample, the number of aliens who got on the voter rolls is staggering. The aliens are casting ballots in a state where elections have been decided by a few hundred votes.”
        The new report is a partnership of the Virginia Voters Alliance and the Public Interest Legal Foundation, and it details how at least 1,046 non-citizens were allowed to vote based on official voting records, he said.
        State-wide, “the problem is most certainly exponentially worse [than seen in the eight localities] because we have no data regarding aliens on the registration rolls for the other 125 Virginia localities,” the report said. “When the voting history of this small sample of alien registrants is examined, nearly 200 verified ballots were cast before they were removed from the rolls. Each one of them is likely a felony.”


        don’t pretend this is coincidence, please.

        1. Basically, you’re defining analysis you disagree with as hate speech. That tactic worked for the left for a long time, but people are calling B.S. They’re refusing to be intimidated anymore. For the most part, the reaction is healthy. Sadly, a tiny group of real bigots and racists feel empowered to crawl out of the woodwork.

  16. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    We audit most government functions. Fairfax County, for example, has a small office of program auditor who reports directly to the BoS and not through the County Executive. This gives the people’s representatives the ability to check the operations of government agencies.

    By way of illustration, when Gerry Connolly was chairman of the BoS, the Board instructed the program auditor to investigate the practice of employees taking home county vehicles. The report concluded the practice was excessive–people were taking vehicles home without a bona fide business need–and the supervisors cut way back on this practice saving money.

    Let’s audit voting and registration for voting by non-eligible voters. Let’s find out the facts and report to the people. To the best of government’s ability, it should allow qualified people to vote and prevent non-qualified people. There is no reason to accept known error in either direction.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      re: ” To the best of government’s ability, it should allow qualified people to vote and prevent non-qualified people. There is no reason to accept known error in either direction.”

      and that’s exactly what they are doing.. ALL of the supposed “failures” were those that the registrars themselves caught – and documented.

      if you want a “better” system – then you get in the game and advocate for
      specific reforms .. at least as much as you’re going to “blame”.

  17. elena siddall Avatar
    elena siddall

    Why not consider using the deportation statistics?
    Compare the names of the deportees with those on the voter registration list.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      3 stars for Elena! that’s the kind of constructive dialogue that can result in reforms instead of the current “blame game” rhetoric coming from people who show no interest what-so-ever in doing anything other that suggesting that someone is not doing what they should be doing to stop those pesky “illegals”.

      If you think there is a problem – get in the game – collect real statistics.. make the case and suggest reforms and get out of the demonization of public officials and “illegals”.

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