Conservatives Raise Alarm over Alleged Noncitizen Voting: A Historically Recurring Myth

Published: Mar. 30, 2024
Gerard Albert III/Myrtle Beach Sun News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Seen at a South Carolina Republican Party event in 2022, conservative attorney Cleta Mitchell has been stirring up controversy. Known for her prominent role within right-wing circles, she's currently grabbing attention with an incendiary memo. A former adviser to Donald Trump, Mitchell is now focusing on what she perceives to be "the threat of non-citizen voting in 2024." This memo, which seeks to demand more stringent voter registration rules, is causing a stir. Why, you might ask? Here's where the story really takes a turn...

For quite some time now, the myth of undocumented immigrants affecting federal election outcomes has been in circulation. What makes this year unique, however, is the surge in migrants at the southern U.S. border. Right-wing figures, including Mitchell herself, have been capitalizing on this narrative. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has drastically drawn attention to this narrative, amplifying this message across the nation, eliciting both fear and doubt.

Prominent figures like Elon Musk are also throwing their weight behind this baseless idea. Musk, in a post about undocumented immigrants which has been viewed more than 23 million times, added fuel to the fire by writing, "[Democrats] are importing voters." Such statements have a domino effect: They contribute to a climate of misinformation that needs to be challenged and corrected by election experts and educators within the country.

Despite being illegal for noncitizens to vote in federal elections, the fear of this occurrence persists. Even though there's no concrete evidence to support this claim, the narrative continues to gain momentum, causing unease among voters. This only adds to the existing tension within a large section of Republicans who already mistrust elections and see immigration as a major challenge for the country.

The idea of people being brought into the U.S. to influence elections is a concept that's been around for a while. It's a myth that found its roots in the late 1800s. This narrative of voter fraud re-emerged every time there's been a steep influx of immigrants or an expansion of voting access, causing waves of concern. The recent surge in immigration and the existence of the National Voter Registration Act have yet again triggered this narrative, leading to aggressive debates and discussions. The question that needs to be answered now: Is there a real threat or is this just another political oblivion? Stay tuned as we delve deeper...

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