Rep. Greg Steube

Rep. Steube Takes On Federal “Motor Voter” Law, Raising The Specter Of Voting Fraud

Last month U.S Rep. Dan Newhouse responded to reports of the Chinese communist government aggressively buying up American farmland with a bill to prohibit such transactions.
Rep. Greg Steube

Rep. Greg Stuebe seeks to prove that being a citizen requires more than just showing up.

On Friday, the Sarasota Republican announced that he had introduced a bill to repeal certain provisions of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, more commonly known as the “Motor Voter” law.

Congressman Steube said he was concerned about the law contributing to the risk of election fraud, and that a state issue had long been federalized. 

Enacted by then-President Bill Clinton and a Democratic-majority Congress, the bill mandated states to offer voter registration as part of obtaining or renewing a driver’s license or state-issued identification card.

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The law also required states to offer voter registration to those who seek public assistance by enrolling in social programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, WIC, and disability.

The intent was to encourage voting since Congress had been concerned about low voter turnout in some previous elections.

Critics challenged that proponents offered scant evidence that increasing the number of persons on voter registration rolls would lead to higher voter turnout. They also maintained that the law would increase the likelihood of election fraud, and unnecessarily burden the states with new administrative costs.

There was also an argument that people who wanted to exercise their right to vote would register to do so under the previous rules.

In one sense, the critics were right.

According to the American Presidency Project, voter turnout when Clinton was first elected in 1992 was 55.2%. Turnout surpassed that mark just twice in the six ensuing elections after the Motor Voter Act took effect.

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“I’m introducing legislation that takes important steps to safeguard our elections and keep the federal government out of a task that should be left solely to each state,” Steube said in a press release.

“U.S. citizens are the only ones who should vote in our elections. ‘Motor voter’ registration threatens election integrity by allowing registration with little proof of citizenship. Further, it forces election-related tasks on already overburdened DMV staff.”

The press release noted that Steube’s bill retains provisions of the National Voter Registration Act that require states to check their voter rolls periodically for accuracy and to purge ineligible voters. His bill also keeps provisions that impose criminal penalties for fraudulent voter registration or voting activities.

That may be a growing concern in blue states.

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that 18 states issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. They include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

Two of those states — Massachusetts and Rhode Island — issue driver’s licenses without forcing people to prove they actually live in the state. 

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