By J. Christian Adams
The voter fraud conviction of Texas resident and Mexican national Rosa Maria Ortega should make it clear we need citizenship verification in voter registration. Over and over, Austin considers bills that would keep ineligible voters from the ballot box—only to see them die quiet deaths in committee. That can’t happen anymore.
State Senator Van Taylor (R-Plano) and Representative Mike Schofield (R-Houston) have introduced companion bills that would require documentary proof of U.S. citizenship when a Texas resident decides to register to vote. Items like valid passports, birth certificates, and naturalization papers would be presented within a reasonable window of time for registration to be complete.
The Ortega case perfectly demonstrates the necessity of these bills. The voter registration process is one of the remaining aspects of elections that still rely on the honor system. Before she voted “five times between 2004 and 2014” as Attorney General Ken Paxton notes, there were multiple attempts at voter registration. The Texas registration form merely asks, “are you a United States citizen?”
The honor system failed with Ortega and is failing across America. Unfortunately, this problem was created by the Motor Voter law in 1993 which made the failing honor system federal law.