Ramifications of Registering to Vote as an Immigrant
U.S. citizens have the right to vote in US elections. All other immigrants do not have that right. There are sever consequences, both criminal and immigration, to voting in a US election if the person does not have US citizenship. However, what if the person did not vote but only registered to vote, or was mistakenly placed on the voter rolls?
It sometimes happens that a person tries to renew their driver’s license and is asked whether they wish to register to vote. Or sometimes the worker at the Secretary of State asked the person to fill out several documents to renew their license. The immigrant, unaware that they are also completing a voter registration form, completes all documents and hands them to the worker. The worker enters the information, and thus the immigrant is now registered as a voter. This happens more than what immigration attorneys would like to see.
The consequences can be that the person made a false claim to citizenship or that they violated the law by registering to vote. It could mean denial of citizenship or even deportation. If it does happen, there may be remedies to the situation. The immigrant should first try to take their name off the registration list by contacting the voting commission. If it was an error by the secretary of state worker, then the immigrant will need to prove that an error occurred by the secretary of state worker and that it was not an intentional act by the immigrant. Still, the immigrant may still then have to wait five years before applying for naturalization.
If there was an intentional claim to US citizenship, then the immigrant may not be able to obtain US citizenship and may be deportable.
Registering to vote can be as serious as voting in an election. An immigrant with this issue must consult with an experienced immigration attorney to understand the implications and create a strategy for solving the issue.
Our experienced immigration attorneys offer a free 15 minute telephone consultation and can be reached at 248-557-3645.