Outgoing Secretary of State Sam Reed is urging state lawmakers to pass legislation next year requiring those applying for a driver’s license or ID card in Washington to show proof of lawful presence – something 48 other states currently require.
Reed’s recommendation to the 2013 Legislature is based on his office’s inability to access a massive immigration database election officials had hoped to use to scrub non-citizens from the state’s voter registration rolls.
States that currently use the database, called Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements, or SAVE, are able to search it using alien registration numbers. These numbers, assigned to new immigrants by the Department of Homeland Security, typically accompany the documents they present as proof of legal presence when applying for a license.
But because Washington does not require immigrants to provide any proof of legal residence, it has no record of alien numbers and therefore no way to access the SAVE system, Reed noted.
While pointing out that his intention is not to purge voter rolls in any discriminatory way, Reed in a statement said, “we do have a strong and continuing commitment to keeping our voter rolls updated and accurate, so that only qualified citizens are allowed to vote.
“To maintain voter confidence in our elections process, we simply cannot tolerate illegal voting.”