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Electoral Studies (2014) 149e157 
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Electoral Studies 
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Journal logo non-citizens vote U.S. elections? 
Jesse Richman Gulshan Chattha David Earnest Department Political Science, Old Dominion University, BAL 7000, Norfolk, 23529, USA Old Dominion University, USA George Mason University, USA 

article info abstract 
Article history: 
Received January 2014 Received revised form August 2014 Accepted September 2014 Available online September 2014 
Non-citizen Voting Immigrant Enfranchisement Vote fraud Registration spite substantial public controversy, very little reliable data exists concerning the frequency with which non-citizen immigrants participate United States elections. Although such participation violation election laws most parts the United States, enforcement depends principally disclosure citizenship status the time voter registration. This study examines participation rates non-citizens using nationally representative sample that includes non-citizen immigrants. nd that some non-citizens participate U.S. elections, and that this participation has been large enough change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes, and Congressional elections. Non-citizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed overcome libusters order pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities the 111th Congress. 
 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Introduction 
This analysis provides some the rst available nationwide estimates the portion non-citizen immigrants who vote U.S. elections. These estimates speak ongoing debate concerning non-citizen voting rights within the United States (DeSipio 2011; Earnest, 2008; FAIR, 2004; Fund and von Spakovsky, 2012; Hayduk, 2006; Immigration Policy Center, 2012; Munro, 2008; Song, 2009; Von Spakovsky, 2012) and they also speak broader global questions concerning the normative political place non-citizens democratic politics. 
Most state and local governments the United States bar non-citizens from participating elections (the exception: few localities Maryland), but the question whether non-citizen immigrants can, and should, participate receives varied answers globally (Earnest, 2008) with	 Corresponding author. Tel.: 1 757 683 3853. E-mail addresses:, 

(J.T. Richman), (G.A. Chattha), (D.C. 
Earnest). Tel.: 1 757 331 0359. 

many countries offering least some opportunity for some resident non-citizens participate local elections, and some countries offering full participation national elections. 
The United States also has long history noncitizen voting the local, state and national levels. Aylsworth (1931) notes that during the nineteenth century, the laws and constitutions least twenty-two states and territories granted aliens the right vote. From the founding the Republic the early 20th century, various territories and states enfranchised noncitizen residents for several reasons. During westward expansion, several territories offered the franchise entice European migrants settle that territories would meet the population criterion for admission the Union. Similarly, during Reconstruction several southern states offered the franchise migrants who would replace slave labor. Later, some states enfranchised so-called declarant aliens (resident aliens who declared their intent naturalize) educate them about the interests and issues their communities. Yet the practice enfranchising noncitizens served less salutary goals well. enfranchising only propertied white European men, the practice noncitizen 
0261-3794/ 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. 
J.T. Richman al. Electoral Studies (2014) 149e157 
voting reinforced extant prohibitions voting women, African Americans, Asian Americans, the poor and others. the 1920s, however, following the large migrations the early 20th century, all states had revoked the voting rights noncitizens (Earnest, 2008,25e26). Non-citizens voted legally every presidential election through 1924. 1928 the last state constitution that protected non-citizen voting (Arkansas') had been amended. 
The decision (dis) enfranchise non-citizens falls within the states' authority dene qualications for voting. The nineteenth-century practices various states produced case-law legacy that most legal scholars conclude permits states enfranchise noncitizens legislators choose. Similarly, several occasions the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality noncitizen voting because states have the authority set voter qualications (Earnest, 2008,25e26). The question noncitizen voting is, the end, political rather than legal one. 
Within the context the current nearly universal ban non-citizen voting the United States, this study examines the voting behavior non-citizens. what extent non-citizens ignore legal barriers and seize ballot access U.S. elections? nd that non-citizen participation 
U.S. elections low, but non-zero, with unusual set covariates with participation, and the potential change important election outcomes. Data 
The data used for this paper from the 2008 and 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Studies, based the les released Stephen Ansolabehere (2010, 2011). The 2008 and 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Studies (CCES) were conducted YouGov/Polimetrix Palo Alto, internet-based survey using sample selected mirror the demographic characteristics the U.S. population. both years survey data was collected two waves: pre-election October, and then post-election November. The questionnaire asked more than 100 questions regarding electoral participation, issue preferences, and candidate choices. 
Four design characteristics make this survey uniquely valuable for our purposes. has enormous sample size, which makes feasible sub-population analyses  32,800 2008 and  55,400 2010). included question about citizenship status. Many non-citizens were asked they voted, unlike other large surveys which lter out non-citizens before asking about voting. Participation and registration were veried for least some residents nearly every state for the 2008 survey (Virginia state law barred voting verication). 
Inclusion validated voting measure particularly valuable this context because important and contradictory social and legal incentives for reporting non-citizen electoral participation. Although variation the social desirability voting may skew estimates (Ansolabehere and Hersh, 2012) for other populations, legal concerns may lead some non-citizens deny that they are registered and/or have voted when fact they have done both. Validation registration and voting was performed the CCES research team collaboration with the rm Catalyst. 339 non-citizens identied the 2008 survey, Catalyst matched 140 commercial (e.g. credit card) and/or voter database. The vote validation procedures are described detail Ansolabehere and Hersh (2012). The verication effort means that for bit more than percent the 2008 sample, are able verify whether non-citizens voted when they said they did, didn't vote when they said they didn't. For the remaining non-citizens, have only the respondent's word concerning electoral participation, although attempt make inferences about their true participation rate based upon the veried portion the sample. 
About one percent the respondents each survey identied themselves non-citizen immigrants (339 2008, 489 2010)2.In both years the sample likely includes individuals drawn from more than one category non-citizen (ranging from permanent resident aliens those short-term student visas). the context the 2010 CCES, possible identify the exact citizenship status some respondents because many provided open-ended response about their citizenship status when asked why they did not vote. For instance, I'm permanent resident, I have green card,waiting Citizenship come through!and most commonly simply, not citizen.No individual specically identied themselves illegal undocumented resident, although one did indicate that she hadn't voted because the individual didn't have green card [sic] yet.It possible that some respondents were without any documentation whatsoever (popularly called illegal aliens), though this cannot conrmed rejected with the information available respondent specically self-identied themselves illegal undocumented (but many did not specically identify themselves having permanent resident status). critical question for this project whether respondents' self-identication non-citizens was accurate. most all the non-citizenswho indicated that they voted were fact citizens who accidentally misstated their citizenship status, then the data would have nothing contribute concerning the frequency non-citizen voting. Appendix includes demographic, attitudinal, and geographical analyses designed assess whether those who stated that they were non-citizens were fact non-citizens. builds strong construct concurrent validity case for the validity the measure. demonstrate that self-reported non-citizens who voted had similar racial, geographic, and attitudinal characteristics with non-citizens who did not vote, and that whole the non-citizens our sample had racial, attitudinal, and geographic characteristics consistent with their reported non-citizen status. Given this evidence, think that the vast majority those who said they were non-citizens were fact non-citizens. Since the total legal permanent resident population 2008 12.6 million (Rytina, 2012) was approximately four percent the overall U.S. population, and the total non-citizen adult population 2011 was 19.4 million (CPS, 2011), the non-citizen population was under-sampled. Nonetheless, the sample that was collected provides the rst nationwide sample from which analysts can draw inferences concerning electoral participation non-citizens United States elections. 

J.T. Richman al. Electoral Studies (2014) 149e157 
For 2008, the median length residence the current address for non-citizens was 1e2 years, with 16.9 percent residing the current address for less than seven months, and 25.7 percent residing the current address for more years. This considerably more mobile than the overall sample, which has median length residence over years (57.1 percent). 2010 the median time spent the current address non-citizens was years, and respondents were also asked how many years they had lived their current city with median response years. few respondents have been the U.S. for long time. One 2010 respondent explained I English although I've lived here for years and balking becoming citizen for multiple reasons although know really need this for family's nancial future. active politics and know more than most Americans. impossible tell for certain whether the non-citizens who responded the survey were representative the broader population non-citizens, but some clues can gained examining education levels. Census bureau estimates (Census, 2012) suggest that the sample contains slightly more college-educated respondents (30.6 percent) than the overall foreign born population (26.8 percent), and many fewer respondents with less than high-school education (8.3 percent versus 33.3 percent). The paucity uneducated non-citizens the sample would most circumstances expected bias sample voting participation upward. However, given our results concerning the association between participation and education (discussed below) may well that the paucity uneducated non-citizens the CCES sample biases the turnout estimates down rather than up. confront this issue primarily weighting the data. 
Throughout the analysis (with the exception the appendix) report results produced from weighted data. Weight construction began with CCES case weights, but then adjusted these race match the racial demographic the non-citizen population. Our concern with using regular CPS case-weights was that weights were constructed based upon overall demographic characteristics without attention the demographic character the non-citizen population. For instance, the Census Bureau estimates (Census Bureau, 2013) that 6.7 percent non-citizens are Black3. The unweighted 2008 CPS dataset slightly over-counts non-citizen respondents who identied their race Black 9.1 percent. The weighted 2008 CPS contrast dramatically over-counts non-citizen respondents who self-identied their race Black 14.1 percent. constructed new weight variable that adjusted the CCES case weight (1) preserve the actual number respondents the sample the face tendency for non-citizens demographic groups receiving higher weights, and (2) match Census Bureau (CPS, 2011) estimates the racial characteristics the non-citizen population. Results for weighted data were qualitatively similar (but somewhat lower than) results with un-weighted data for the key voting variables. Weighting produces non-citizen sample that appears better match with Census estimates the population. For instance, 32.5 percent the weighted sample had high school degree. Participatory stages 
Participation U.S. elections requires that would-be voters complete series steps including: registering vote, traveling polling place requesting absentee ballot and presenting any required identication, and casting ballot. each stage, legal barriers non-citizen voting may lead lower participation. Only all stages are surmounted will the non-citizen cast ballot U.S. election. any stage, concern about the potentially high legal costs non-citizen voting, enforcement ofcial requirements for ballot access may prevent non-citizen voting. Here combine the categories Black African American, Black African American and White, Black African American and Native The Census Bureau (CPS, 2011) estimates that there were 19.4 million American 6.6 percent were Black African American alone. non-citizens age over living the United States 2011. 
3.1. Registration 
Non-citizen voter registration violation election law almost all U.S. jurisdictions, the lone exceptions are for residents few localities Maryland. Most non-citizens did not cross the initial threshold voter registration, but some did. 2008, non-citizens (19.8%) either claimed they were registered, had their registration status veried, both. Among the 337 immigrant non-citizens who responded the CCES, (14.8%) indicated the survey that they were registered. additional non-citizens had their voter registration status veried through record matches even though they claimed not registered. Perhaps the legal risks non-citizen registration led some these individuals claim not registered. 2010 (15.6%) non-citizens indicated that they were registered vote either the pre-election post-election survey waves. 2008, the proportion non-citizens who were fact registered vote was somewhere between 19.8% (all who reported had veried registration, both) and 3.3% (11 non-citizen respondents were almost certainly registered vote because they both stated that they were registered and had their registration status veried). Even the low-end estimate suggests fairly substantial population registered-to-vote non-citizens nationwide. Out roughly 
19.4 million adult non-citizens the United States, this would represent population roughly 620,000 registered non-citizens4. way comparison, there are roughly 725,000 individuals the average Congressional district. 
The adjusted estimate row presents our best guess the true percentage non-citizens registered. uses the (weighted) non-citizens from 2008 for whom Catalyst obtained match commercial and/or voter databases estimate the portion non-citizens who either claim registered when they are not (35%) claim not 

J.T. Richman al. Electoral Studies (2014) 149e157 
Non-citizen turnout required account for 2008 Obama win state. 
State Obama victory Number Non-citizen margin adult turnout required (FEC, 2009) non-citizens account for (Census Obama victory Bureau, 2013) margin 
North Carolina 14,177 432,700 5.1% Florida 236,450 1,684,705 21.8% Indiana 28,391 165,210 26.7% Nevada 120,909 275,565 68.2% Virginia 234,527 427,535 85.3% 
turnout small enough that quite likely non-citizen participation led victory the Democratic candidate the necessary non-citizen turnout within the range our turnout estimates. with the presidential-election results above, this analysis suggest that non-citizen turnout large enough have had modest, but real, inuence election outcomes the US. 
The most important race identied Table undoubtedly the Minnesota 2008 Senate contest. This race, ultimately decided 312 votes for Democrat Franken, was critical national importance. gave Democrats the libuster-proof super-majority needed pass major legislative initiatives during President Obama's rst year ofce. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, for instance, would have had much more difcult path passage were not for Franken's pivotal vote. The 2008 Senate race also the race where the smallest portion non-citizen votes would have tipped the balance participation more than 0.65% non-citizens sufcient account for the entirety Franken's margin. Our best guess that nearly ten times many voted. non-citizen voting intentional accidental? 
The fact that non-citizen voting illegal most parts the United States means that those who voted were potentially violating the law. The decision participate spite de-jure barriers may times intentional act protest against the failure enfranchise non-citizen residents. the other hand, some may have violated election laws accidentally because they were unaware legal barriers electoral participation. 
Education rates may provide some clues concerning the balance between ignorance and activism. activism 
Non-citizen turnout required account for democratic congressional victories. 
State, district,	 Democratic Number Non-citizen 
and year	 candidate adult non-citizens turnout required victory (Census Bureau, account for margin (FEC) 2013, 2014) victory margin Senate (2008) 312 180,020 0.65% (2008) 727 19,845 6.94% 
drives non-citizen voting, then participation rates should higher among better educated individuals who are more likely attentive normative arguments favor enfranchising non-citizen residents. ignorance legal barriers drives voting, then participation rates should higher among those who are more poorly educated. 
Unlike other populations, including naturalized citizens, (Bass and Casper, 2001; Mayer, 2011) education not associated with higher participation among non-citizens. 2008, non-citizens with less than college degree were signicantly more likely cast validated vote (Somers'd -0.17, .001), and non-citizens with college degree higher cast validated vote. Non-citizens with more education were also not signicantly more likely self-report voting 2008 2010. This hints possible link between non-citizen voting and lack awareness about legal barriers. Conclusions 
Our exploration non-citizen voting the 2008 presidential election found that most non-citizens did not register vote 2008, but some did. The proportion non-citizens who voted was less than fteen percent, but signicantly greater than zero. Similarly 2010 found that more than three percent non-citizens reported voting. 
These results speak both sides the debate concerning non-citizen enfranchisement. They support the claims made some anti-immigration organizations that non-citizens participate U.S. elections. addition, the analysis suggests that non-citizens' votes have changed signicant election outcomes including the assignment North Carolina's 2008 electoral votes, and the pivotal Minnesota Senate victory Democrat Franken 2008. 
However, our results also support the arguments made voting and immigrant rights organizations that the portion non-citizen immigrants who participate U.S. elections quite small. Indeed, given the extraordinary efforts made the Obama and McCain campaigns mobilize voters 2008, the relatively small portion non-citizens who voted 2008 likely exceeded the portion non-citizens voting other recent U.S. elections. 
Our results also suggest that photo-identication requirements are unlikely effective preventing electoral participation non-citizen immigrants: 2008, more than two thirds non-citizen immigrants who indicated that they were asked show photo-identication reported that they went cast vote. potential response the inefcacy photo-id preventing non-citizen voting found laws recently passed Kansas and Arizona that require voter registrants prove citizenship. highlighting and emphasizing the citizenship requirement (and requiring documentation non-citizens should unable provide) seems likely that such laws would prevent more non-citizens from voting. That said, enforcement would critical for efcacy (and much would depend here upon local election ofcials), particularly since federal voter registration forms not require proof citizenship. addition, already 

Table A.1 
Race and citizenship status. 
J.T. Richman al. Electoral Studies (2014) 149e157 
Citizenship status  Total  
Immigrant citizen  Immigrant non-citizen  First generation  Second generation  Third generation  
Race Total  White Black Hispanic Asian Native American Mixed Other Middle Eastern  647 47.0% 134 9.7% 353 25.6% 167 12.1% 0.4% 1.5% 2.9% 0.8% 1377 100.0%  150 44.2% 9.1% 26.8% 16.2% 0.0% 1.5% 1.5% 0.6% 339 100.0%  1622 62.3% 3.5% 581 22.3% 156 6.0% 0.3% 2.6% 2.5% 0.5% 2605 100.0%  6442 89.1% 0.9% 405 5.6% 0.5% 0.5% 1.3% 147 2.0% 0.0% 7232 100.0%  18,002 85.3% 1668 7.9% 550 2.6% 0.1% 260 1.2% 270 1.3% 320 1.5% 0.0% 21,103 100.0%  26,863 82.3% 1992 6.1% 1980 6.1% 444 1.4% 311 1.0% 457 1.4% 578 1.8% 0.1% 32,656 100.0%  

registered non-citizens might well able continue voting. any case such measures would come with signicant costs for some citizens for whom the necessary documentation could challenging provide. 
Ultimately, the results our analysis provide basis for informed reection concerning the role non-citizens 
U.S. elections. They demonstrate that spite de-jure barriers participation, small portion non-citizen immigrants participate U.S. elections, and that this participation times substantial enough change important election outcomes including Electoral College votes and Senate races. For those who wish further restrict participation non-citizens, however, our results also provide important cautions. Simple resort voter photo-identication rules unlikely particularly effective. 
Appendix Validating citizen status self reports 
One potential concern about the results presented this paper that they might reect survey response errors. Specically, some citizens intentionally inadvertently indicated that they were non-citizens, this could produce the pattern nd small number apparent non-citizens engaging the political process. While nd implausible that citizens would intentionally claim non-citizen immigrants, possible that some citizens could have inadvertently selected this response. This appendix evaluates that possibility. 
Given condentiality and legal issues, not ethicallypossibleto directlyverifywhether individualswho voted were/are non-citizens. Instead, examine the construct concurrent validity showing that self-reported non-citizens had demographic and attitudinal characteristics one would expect them have they were fact non-citizen immigrants, and that the non-citizens who voted had similar attitudes and characteristics the non-citizens who didn't vote questions where one might expect those who were fact non-citizen immigrants distinct from the broader population. 

A.1. Demographic characteristics 
Given immigration patterns recent decades, non-citizens should more likely non-white than the general population surveyed. Table A.1 summarizes the racial characteristics individuals with various immigration statuses among 2008 survey respondents. Non-citizen immigrants had the lowest percentage whites, and the highest percentages Hispanics and Asians. None identied Native Americans. All analyses the appendix use unweighted data because the goal evaluate the characteristics the sample. the self-declared non-citizens who voted were actually non-citizens, their racial distribution should similar that ofnon-citizenswhodidnotvote.8InTable A.2,wedividenoncitizens into two groups: those who voted (said they voted, had veried vote, both) and those who did not, and compare their racial characteristics. Non-citizen immigrants who voted are not statistically distinguishable from non-citizen immigrants who voted, and several the non-signicant differences demographic characteristics skew the direction demographics less like those citizens. For instance, there are fewer Whites among the voters than the nonvoters, and more Hispanics and Blacks. Results from 2010 are omitted the interest saving space, but they reveal the same patterns, with non-citizens whovoted reporting slightly (but not signicantly) more racial diversity, and fewer whites than even among non-citizens who did not vote. 

J.T. Richman al. Electoral Studies (2014) 149e157 One important caveat order. the extent that non-citizen voting dependent upon ability pass for citizen the polling place, respondents who looked less like immigrants election ofcials might have easier time voting. 
Table A.2 
Racial characteristics non-citizen voters and non-voters, 2008. 
Did not vote  Voted  Total  
Race  White  129  150  
44.3%  43.8%  44.2%  
8.2%  14.6%  9.1%  
Hispanic 26.5% 29.2% 26.8%  
17.2%  10.4%  16.2%  
1.7%  0.0%  1.5%  
1.4%  2.1%  1.5%  
Middle Eastern  
0.7%  0.0%  0.6%  
Total  291  339  
100.0%  100.0%  100.0%  

A.2. Immigration attitudes 
The 2010 CCES included battery questions immigration attitudes. These questions provide good opportunity use attitudinal variables check the validity the citizenship measure. Non-citizen immigrants might expected have distinctive positions immigration issues, given the potential for immigration policy choices directly affect themselves their families. The specic immigration questions asked respondents select many options they wished from among list items: 
What you think the U.S. government should about immigration. Select all that apply. 
Fine Businesses 

Grant legal status all illegal immigrants who have held jobs and paid taxes for least years and have not been convicted felony crimes. 

Increase the number guest workers allowed come legally the US. 

Increase the number border patrols the U.S.Mexican border. 

Allow police question anyone they think may the country illegally. 

None these. 

For all these items, the choices selected non-citizen immigrants were statistically different from those made her respondents. The number respondents and the percent supporting each policy summarized Table A.3 below. 
Table A.3 
Immigration attitudes citizens and non-citizens (2010 CCES). 
Citizens Non citizens Total responses 
Fine businesses	 1786 2438** 73.7% 35.3% 
Grant legal status	 21,162 310 55,234** 38.7% 63.4% 
Increase border patrol	 34,057 201 55,234** 62.2% 41.1% 
Increase guest workers	 659 2438* 27.2% 47.1% 
Allow police question	 26,531 55,234** 48.5% 19.6% 
Chi-Square test: difference signicant .001 level. Difference signicant .10 level. 
Across all ve issues, the difference between citizen and non-citizen responses statistically signicant and substantively large. Those who identied themselves non-citizens have views that are distinctly different from those who identied themselves citizens. further investigate whether those self-declared non-citizens who voted might have mis-stated their citizenship status, Table A.4 compares the immigration attitudes non-citizens who said they voted with the immigration attitudes non-citizens who said they did not vote. Only three questions are included because none the non-citizens the subsamples asked the other two questions identied themselves voters. 
Table A.4 
Immigration attitudes non-citizens voting status (2010 CCES). 
Didn't vote  Voted  Total responses  
Grant legal status  285 62.6% 73.5%  489  
Increase border patrol  186 40.9% 44.1%  489  
Allow police question 19.1% 26.5%  489  

Note: All voting status based self-reported vote votes were veried for 2010 CCES. Chi-square difference signicant .10 level. expected, there are signicant differences attitudes toward immigration among respondents who identied non-citizens, irrespective whether not they voted. This what would expect respondents' self-identication valid. one three questions (grant legal status) non-citizens who voted were slightly (not signicantly) more likely take the pro-immigrant position. 

A.3. State non-citizen population respondents who indicate they are non-citizens are fact non-citizens, then they should more likely reside states with larger non-citizen populations. test this idea, computed the percentage adult non-citizens per state using Census Bureau (2013) data (2007e2011 American Community Survey year estimates). then used this percentage predict whether respondents would indicate they were non-citizens across states the 2008 CCES. The percentage non-citizens was very statistically signicant predictor self-identied non-citizen status binary logit analysis  11.34, S.E.  1.05, .0005), and remained statistically signicant with very similar effect size when analysis was restricted only individuals who had self-identied veried votes  11.25, S.E.  2.77, .0005). Similar results were obtained for 2010, with the analysis all respondents producing the following coefcient and signicance levels  8.86, S.E.  0.88, .0005) and the analysis voters producing the following results  6.4, S.E.  3.3, .053). 2010 once more not possible reject the null hypothesis that the coefcients are the same. 

A.4. Conclusion 
The results presented this appendix support the conclusion that those who identied themselves non

J.T. Richman al. Electoral Studies (2014) 149e157 
citizens had the demographic characteristics one would expect non-citizens have, and non-citizens who voted were not appreciably different from non-citizens who did not vote terms their political attitudes towards immigration, their geographic distribution, and their racial demographics. Therefore, unlikely that substantial number citizen respondents (inadvertently) indicated that they were non-citizens. 
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