Heritage Action Announces Key Vote Urging Support for Bill to Safeguard Elections

Press Releases · Jul 8, 2024

WASHINGTON—Heritage Action’s endorsement of a crucial bill to safeguard election integrity from the ongoing illegal immigration crisis has been elevated to a Key Vote. The conservative grassroots organization contacted congressional offices today, urging lawmakers to vote for the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act (H.R. 8281), which would compel states to require proof of citizenship when registering voters. Heritage’s nationwide network of millions of conservative activists has been engaged to drive support on Capitol Hill.

Heritage Action Executive Vice President Ryan Walker released the following statement announcing the Key Vote:

“Democrats in Congress and the media are quick to scoff that it’s already against the law for illegal aliens to vote. However, they’re also vocally opposed to ensuring states actually check the ID or citizenship status of voters. It’s curious that lawmakers would simultaneously oppose commonsense election integrity proposals and support the current administration's mass illegal immigration scheme. The connection is not lost on the American people.

“Without the SAVE Act, states will continue to provide aliens with IDs, automatically register voters with no proof of citizenship, and hold elections with zero identification requirements. This gap in election law should be fixed before Americans head to the ballot box in November. Heritage Action thanks Rep. Roy and Sen. Lee for leading this fight and urges every lawmaker to vote for the SAVE Act.”

The SAVE Act was introduced by Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) in the House and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Senate. Thanks in part to advocacy from Heritage Action’s grassroots activists, the bill quickly garnered more than 120 cosponsors between both chambers. The more than two million-person strong grassroots network will be activated again this week to drive votes in favor of the legislation.

Heritage Action first endorsed the legislation in May in a letter to the House Administration Committee. In the letter, Walker reminded lawmakers that more than 70% of Americans oppose proposals around the country to give noncitizens the right to vote. Meanwhile, voter ID laws are one of the most unifying policies amongst Americans today, with more than 80% supporting proof of identity at the ballot box.

By issuing a Key Vote, lawmakers are notified that their position on this legislation will affect their score on the Heritage Action Scorecard, which shows voters and activists how conservative lawmakers are by comparing their policy priorities to those of Heritage Action. The scores of lawmakers who oppose H.R. 8281 will be negatively impacted.

KEY VOTE: “YES” on the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act (H.R. 8281)

Heritage Action supports the SAVE Act (H.R. 8281) and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.

The right to vote is one of Americans’ most sacred privileges. The integrity of our elections is central to public trust in the government and faith in the future of our republic. The SAVE Act closes existing loopholes that undermine election integrity laws and enable alien voting in federal elections.

It is true that every state already requires an individual to be a citizen to register and vote in state and federal elections. It is a felony to falsely claim to be a citizen for any purpose, including to register to vote or to actually vote. It’s also a federal misdemeanor violation for an alien to vote, regardless of whether he or she falsely claimed to be a citizen. However, there is no universal requirement for states to obtain proof of citizenship to enforce that prerequisite. In fact, interpretation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) has been exploited to actually prevent states from requiring proof of citizenship. In short, laws dictating that all voters be U.S. citizens are essentially meaningless without a corresponding statute requiring states to prove citizenship. The SAVE Act corrects this gap in the law.

Taken together, it is currently legal for states to provide aliens with IDs, automatically register voters with no proof of citizenship, and hold elections with zero identification requirements. Meanwhile, more than 10 million illegal aliens and millions more paroled aliens have entered the country since President Biden took office—none of whom have the right to vote in U.S. elections. It is undeniable that the current structure makes it possible for illegal aliens and other non-citizens to register and vote. The current political leaders on the Left are making it certain that they can. In a clear example, 143 Democrats recently voted against prohibiting aliens from voting in D.C. elections.

The Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database contains many cases of aliens convicted for illegally registering and voting. Several years ago, the secretary of state of Pennsylvania was forced to resign after the state had to admit it was registering aliens for years through its driver’s licensing system. Further, the Public Interest Legal Foundation has issued many reports on the thousands of aliens found registered in numerous states. While some members of Congress and pundits on the Left downplay the pervasiveness of the problem, one illegal alien or non-citizen voting in our elections is too many—especially when the legislative solution is so simple and widely supported by the American people.

The SAVE Act amends the NVRA to require states to obtain proof of both U.S. citizenship and identity when registering an individual to vote in a federal election. Further, the bill enables integration of existing databases at the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration to facilitate a new requirement for states to remove aliens from existing voter rolls.

Illegal aliens and non-citizens can and do vote in U.S. elections—and the American people have no way of knowing how widespread the problem may be. The SAVE Act puts all of these issues to rest and gives Americans confidence that our elections are decided on a more even playing field. Voters’ faith in the security and integrity of our system is essential for our republic.

Heritage Action supports the SAVE Act (H.R. 8281) and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.