House GOP Advances Nationwide Proof of Citizenship and D.C. Noncitizen Voting Bills

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives advanced a nationwide proof of citizenship bill — dubbed the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act — to the House floor on Thursday after a committee hearing. The GOP majority also passed a bill to ban noncitizen voting in Washington, D.C.

During a markup session in the Committee on House Administration on Thursday, members of Congress debated and voted to advance the SAVE Act, after it was discussed in a hearing the prior week. 

U.S. Capitol Building.(PartTime Portraits/Unsplash)

Committee chair Rep. Brian Steil (R-Wis.) underscored the importance of this bill, which was introduced earlier this month by U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).

Steil said that noncitizen voting is a real threat, citing a recent example in Ohio where 137 noncitizens were identified on voter rolls. During the hearing, he also claimed that although it is illegal for noncitizens to vote, they’re still doing it.

“While it’s illegal today for noncitizens to vote in our federal elections, it’s also illegal to evade Border Patrol and unlawfully enter the country, and as we’ve seen, that hasn’t stopped anyone,” Steil said.

Ranking Member Rep. Joe Morelle (D-N.Y.) slammed Republicans during the hearing for spreading “disproven lies to actively undermine American faith in our democracy,” and criticized them for repeatedly discussing this issue.

“The hearing that we held last week… was not only a waste of this committee’s time but a waste of the taxpayer resources,” Morelle said. “This markup today is the latest blemish on the majority’s anti-democracy quest.”

During the hearing, Steil also said that he doesn’t support District citizens voting on a local level, bringing up House Resolution 192, which would overturn D.C.’s legislation allowing noncitizens to vote in municipal elections. Rep. August Kluger (R-Texas) introduced H.R. 192 in January 2023 to repeal The Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2022.

Later that day, the bill passed the GOP-controlled House with a 262-143 vote, with 52 Democrats supporting it.

Earlier this month, Rep. William Timmons (R-S.C.) introduced the Demanding Citizenship in D.C. Elections Act, which would also require people voting in D.C. municipal elections to be U.S. citizens.

The debate in Congress over noncitizen voting will likely not end anytime soon. Republicans claim they’re protecting the integrity of U.S. elections, and Democrats argue that the GOP is using the issue to plant the seeds for a movement to overturn the 2024 election results.

Read the SAVE Act here.

Read H.R. 192 here.