Florida Senate - 2017 SM 944 By Senator Bean 4-00889-17 2017944__ 1 Senate Memorial 2 A memorial to the Congress of the United States, 3 urging Congress to amend certain federal laws to 4 remove obstacles to states exercising their authority 5 and obligation, under state and federal law, to 6 protect the integrity of elections by ensuring that 7 only United States citizens are registered to vote. 8 9 WHEREAS, one of the most fundamental and cherished rights 10 under the Constitution of the United States is the right to 11 vote, and 12 WHEREAS, the right to vote is rightly conferred only upon 13 citizens of the United States, and 14 WHEREAS, when noncitizens are able to vote notwithstanding 15 the legal prohibition against it, the votes of lawful citizens 16 are diluted and election outcomes are affected, and 17 WHEREAS, with an estimated 11 million to 20 million aliens 18 unlawfully present in the United States, state and local voter 19 registration entities must be able to exercise their authority 20 to prevent the registration of noncitizens and remove 21 noncitizens who register to vote, and 22 WHEREAS, in order to increase voter registration, Congress 23 passed the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), which 24 requires states to “accept and use” a uniform “Federal Form” to 25 register voters for federal elections, and 26 WHEREAS, the Federal Form developed by the federal Election 27 Assistance Commission requires only that an applicant swear, 28 under penalty of perjury, that he or she is a citizen of the 29 United States of America and does not require any accompanying 30 documentary evidence of citizenship, and 31 WHEREAS, in 2004, Arizona voters approved a ballot 32 proposition that required voter registration officials to 33 “reject any application for registration that is not accompanied 34 by satisfactory evidence of United States citizenship,” 35 including the Federal Form, and 36 WHEREAS, in the case of Arizona et al. v. Inter Tribal 37 Council of Arizona, Inc., et al., 133 S. Ct. 2247 (2013), the 38 United States Supreme Court held that Arizona’s evidence of 39 citizenship requirement, as applied to Federal Form applicants, 40 is preempted by the NVRA’s mandate that states “accept and use” 41 the Federal Form, and 42 WHEREAS, the holding in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of 43 Arizona, Inc., is grounded upon a statutory interpretation that 44 the NVRA requirement that states “accept and use” the Federal 45 Form does not allow states to require an applicant to submit 46 documentary proof of citizenship supporting a response on the 47 Federal Form that he or she is a citizen of the United States of 48 America, and 49 WHEREAS, the holding in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of 50 Arizona, Inc., can be superseded by Congress amending the NVRA 51 to clarify that states have the authority to require documentary 52 proof of citizenship for applicants who seek to register to vote 53 using the Federal Form, and 54 WHEREAS, the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 55 (IRCA), Pub. L. No. 99-603, required the Federal Government to 56 establish a system that would allow for immediate verification 57 of the immigration status of noncitizen applicants for, and 58 recipients of, certain types of federally funded benefits and to 59 make the system available to federal, state, and local 60 governmental entities that issue such benefits, which resulted 61 in the creation of the Systematic Alien Verification for 62 Entitlements (SAVE) program database, and 63 WHEREAS, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant 64 Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), Pub. L. No. 104-208, 65 mandated that the federal agency charged with enforcement of 66 immigration laws “shall respond to an inquiry by a Federal, 67 State, or local government agency, seeking to verify or 68 ascertain the citizenship or immigration status of any 69 individual within the jurisdiction of the agency for any purpose 70 authorized by law, by providing the requested verification or 71 status information,” but also limited the number of inquiries 72 state agencies may make, limited the circumstances under which a 73 state agency may inquire, and authorized the federal agency 74 charged with enforcement of immigration laws to limit its 75 responses to inquiring agencies, and 76 WHEREAS, the SAVE program uses an online system that checks 77 the immigration status of an individual against millions of 78 Department of Homeland Security database records, allowing 79 states and local agencies access to the most accurate and up-to 80 date information regarding immigration status, and, to 81 facilitate the states’ efforts to ensure that noncitizens are 82 not registered to vote, Congress should clarify existing federal 83 statutory law and expressly grant states the right of immediate 84 access to the SAVE program database in order to allow the states 85 to confirm immigration status information for purposes of voter 86 registration, and 87 WHEREAS, Congress should amend the NVRA to clarify that the 88 90-day provision codified in 52 U.S.C. s. 20507(c)(2)(A) does 89 not preclude removal of noncitizens from the voter registration 90 rolls within 90 days before an election and that the general 91 removal provision codified in 52 U.S.C. s. 20507(c)(2)(B) allows 92 removal of noncitizens from the voter registration rolls at any 93 time, and 94 WHEREAS, the foregoing statutory changes are necessary in 95 order to ensure the integrity of voter registration rolls in 96 Florida and throughout the United States of America and in 97 particular to prevent aliens unlawfully present in the United 98 States from registering to vote, NOW, THEREFORE, 99 100 Be It Resolved by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 101 102 That the Legislature of the State of Florida requests the 103 United States Congress to amend the NVRA to clarify that states 104 have authority to require documentary proof of citizenship for 105 applicants who seek to register to vote using the Federal Form; 106 amend the IRCA and the IIRIRA to expressly grant the states 107 immediate access to the SAVE program database, allowing states 108 to confirm immigration status information for purposes of voter 109 registration; and amend the NVRA to clarify that the 90-day 110 provision codified in 52 U.S.C. s. 20507(c)(2)(A) does not 111 preclude removal of noncitizens from the voter registration 112 rolls within 90 days before an election and that the general 113 removal provision codified in 52 U.S.C. s. 20507(c)(2)(B) allows 114 removal of noncitizens from the voter registration rolls at any 115 time. 116 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of State dispatch 117 copies of this memorial to the President of the United States, 118 to the President of the United States Senate, to the Speaker of 119 the United States House of Representatives, and to each member 120 of the Florida delegation to the United States Congress.