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House to consider GOP-backed bill would require proof of citizenship to register to vote

WASHINGTON D.C. — Election Day is less than four months away and on Capitol Hill, Republicans are pushing for legislation that could impact what people need to cast their ballot.

It’s called the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility Act or The SAVE Act. The bill would require voters to show proof of U.S. citizenship before registering to vote.

“This is about the rule of law, ensuring the integrity of our elections, and the simple proposition that only citizens should vote,” said Rep. Chip Roy, R – Texas, during a press conference in May.

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The measure would also allow people to file civil lawsuits against election officials who don’t follow these requirements.

“The only reason to oppose this that I can think is if you’re comfortable with or even somehow want noncitizens to vote,” said Senator Mike Lee, R – Utah.

Members of the immigration advocacy group, America’s Voice, believe this is an unnecessary bill. That’s because it’s already a federal crime to vote as a noncitizen with a punishment of up to five years in prison for even registering to vote.

Additionally, 36 states already have laws that require voters to bring some form of identification to vote.

“This could have a chilling effect for legitimate voters, who are either one confused by the legislation that’s being advanced here, whether or not it passes or not,” said Zachary Mueller, Senior Research Director at America’s Voice.

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Mueller also worries this proposal could lead to violent disinformation campaigns.

“Gives legitimacy to individuals across this country to intimidate voters based upon the color of their skin, or the accent that they may speak with as they’re giving their legitimacy to say that, well, there is this kind of plot to steal the election by these non-citizens,” said Mueller.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on this bill as early as Tuesday. Even if the measure passes in the House, it is very unlikely it would get much traction in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

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