Currently, there are no states where it's legal for a non-citizen to vote in a federal election.

The question is whether all states' laws specify that proof of citizenship is require for voter registration. I would tend to assume that in each state, the law would require that in order to register to vote in a federal election,

  • the person must present an official document that is proof of citizenship, such as a US birth certificate or US passport, at the time of registration, or
  • the person's citizenship status must be verified by looking it up in some database that required proof of citizenship. (For example, the Social Security Administration keeps a record of whether a person is a citizen, and this requires proof of citizenship to be presented to the SSA office.) Or,
  • in cases where the above two conditions are not satisfied, the person will receive a limited voter registration record that is only valid for state and local elections (in the case of states that allow non-citizens to vote in such elections), and such a person would only be able to obtain a limited ballot without any federal candidates on it (see https://law.stackexchange.com/a/46455/765).

Are there any states where such legal provisions to prevent non-citizen voting do not exist?

  • "The question is how strictly this is enforced" is a law enforcement and bureaucratic administration question, not a question of law. Dec 14, 2020 at 17:03
  • @BlueDogRanch I'm not entirely sure that's correct. State law can and does impose procedural requirements on voter registration, and any relevant legally binding regulations promulgated by the executive branch of a state government are also a form of law.
    – Brian
    Dec 14, 2020 at 17:12
  • It may be a question of the law, but not in the context of this site, where questions about law enforcement are off topic. Dec 14, 2020 at 17:16
  • @BlueDogRanch I have reworded the question to be strictly about law.
    – Brian
    Dec 14, 2020 at 17:27
  • 1
    Does the voters sworn statement that he or she or they is a citizen constitute "proof"? Dec 14, 2020 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


In every state where I have registered to vote, I have never been required to provide proof of citizenship. Instead and most recently, I checked a box and signed a sworn statement that I am a US citizen, when I got my driver's license. State law mandates that the information be compiled into a database which is designed to "Screen against any available databases maintained by other government agencies to identify voters who are ineligible to vote due to a felony conviction, lack of citizenship, or mental incompetence". A registrant can register and then vote the same day. The Sec'y of State does not explain (at all) what citizenship-verification process is followed, so in lieu of insider information, it may be possible to access passport information online. Since possession of a passport is not a requirement for voting, negative passport results cannot preclude voter registration. The Social Security database is a more likely, but still non-definitive database for citizenship. It is possible to register to vote without a social security number (by providing a state ID number or driver's license), and even those forms of ID are not required for an initial registration (a person can be provisionally registered, meaning they can vote for two federal elections – however, their ballot cannot be counted until a state or federal ID number is provided). Whether or not the data provided in the Supplemental Security Record is correct, or is actually accessed by the Washington SOS is not clear. The SOS implies that data may be checked, but there is no provision mandating re-verification, and the law that created a verification framework were enacted in 2006 so at most this will catch new non-citizen registrations.

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