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House GOP passes bill targeting noncitizen voting – already illegal in federal elections – in Trump-aligned push

By Clare Foran and Haley Talbot, CNN

(CNN) — House Republicans passed a bill on Wednesday that would require documentary proof of US citizenship to register to vote in federal elections, despite the fact that it is already illegal for noncitizens to vote in federal elections – a move that comes as former President Donald Trump and his allies continue to sow doubts over election integrity in the run-up to the 2024 elections.

House Speaker Mike Johnson has been outspoken in support of the legislation and Trump has called for its passage. But critics say the push to require documents proving citizenship to vote could wrongfully disenfranchise citizens if they lack access to the types of documents that meet the requirement.

It’s illegal for people who aren’t US citizens to vote in federal contests, and experts say it rarely happens, given that violators face imprisonment and deportation. Opponents also warn the GOP focus on noncitizen voting could serve as a way to undermine the results of the 2024 presidential election if Republicans do not win the White House.

The bill is not expected to be taken up by the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Biden administration has said that it “strongly opposes” the measure.

In addition to requiring documentary proof of citizenship for voter registration in federal elections, the bill also includes provisions for removing noncitizens from federal voter registration rolls.

The vote is part of a broader push by Trump allies and comes after Trump and Johnson raised concerns about the integrity of US elections in a joint appearance at Mar-a-Lago in April that featured false claims about voting and immigration.

At that event, Johnson raised baseless concerns about “potentially hundreds of thousands of votes” being cast by undocumented immigrants in the November presidential election.

On Wednesday, Johnson said in a House floor speech ahead of the vote, “Would we prefer to wait for fraud to happen and only do something after elections are finalized? No, we have to catch the fraud on the front end so there’s no question about the integrity of our votes.”

“There should be no objection to this legislation at all,” he said.

Trump said in a post on Truth Social on Tuesday that Republicans must pass the bill, writing, “Our whole voting system is under siege.”

The Biden administration has denounced the bill, saying in a statement earlier this week, “The alleged justification for this bill is based on easily disproven falsehoods. … States already have effective safeguards in place to verify voters’ eligibility and maintain the accuracy of voter rolls. This bill would do nothing to safeguard our elections, but it would make it much harder for all eligible Americans to register to vote and increase the risk that eligible voters are purged from voter rolls.”

CNN’s Fredreka Schouten and Tierney Sneed contributed to this report.

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