Why Trump Is Wrong About Illegal Alien Voting

Tony Quinn
Editor, California Target Book

President Trump has called for a federal investigation of voting fraud, specifically whether three to five million illegal aliens voted in the 2016 election, thereby costing him the popular vote majority.  While there is much smoke but little fire around this issue, the numbers themselves provide a clear and convincing answer: there is no possibility that illegal alien votes cost Mr. Trump the presidential majority.

Let’s deal first with the dogs that do not bark. According to the Department of Homeland Security, there are 11.4 million illegal immigrants in this country.  Three states account for 47 percent of this total: California, 2.8 illegals; Texas 1.8 million illegals and Florida 730,000.  If massive numbers of illegals had voted, they would be found in these three states.

But Texas is the most Republican large state, with Republicans holding every statewide office; Florida also has a GOP governor and legislature.  Both states have aggressive Republican attorneys general who did not hesitate to sue the Obama Administration.  Yet in these two states, with more than 2.5 million illegal aliens, there is not a single case of massive illegal immigrant voting that has been prosecuted. 

So if millions of illegals voted against Trump in these red states (both of which he carried), they had to do so under the noses of highly partisan Republican governors, legislators and attorneys general.  If Trump believes his figures, he should haul these GOP officials to Washington and ask why there are no prosecutions.  The answer, of course, is that there is no illegal immigrant voting in these states.

What about deep blue California where the political class is howling its heads off over Trump?  With a quarter of all the illegal aliens in the country here, surely millions must have voted illegally if Trump’s figures are correct.

But the numbers tell the story: there is no measurable illegal alien voting in California.  First of all, voting in California is conducted at the country level, not by partisan Democrats at the state level.  California three largest illegal alien counties are Los Angeles, with 815,000 illegals, Orange County with 245,000, and San Diego County, with 205,000.  Los Angeles alone accounts for 29 percent of the state’s illegals, Orange and San Diego Counties another 19 percent.

But Orange and San Diego are heavily Republican counties; all the members of the boards of supervisors in both counties are Republicans as are the district attorneys.  Yet there is no not a case of illegal alien voting prosecuted in these counties.  At the time of the 2016 election, Los Angeles County had two Republican supervisors.  Were all these Republicans asleep while millions of illegals voted?  Not very likely.

Let’s look at the numbers a little differently.  According to the California Department of Finance, there are 30 million Californians over the age of 18.  The California Secretary of State indicates that 24.8 million of these were citizens eligible to vote in the 2016 general election.  That means roughly five million Californians were not eligible, which is the population of legal and illegal non-citizens and others not allowed to vote.

Of the 24.8 million eligible, 19.4 million, or 78 percent, did register.  Of that number 14.6 million, or 75 percent, did cast a ballot, amounting to 59 percent of eligible voters, but less than half of all the adults.

In California in 2016, more than 10 million eligible citizens did not vote.  Overall, half the adult population of California, some 15 million people, did not vote.

The notion that among the 14.6 million who did vote were millions of illegal aliens is just nonsense.  We know that illegal aliens try to live in the shadows in fear of deportation; does it make any sense to think that millions are going to register to vote and sign the voting forms, thus exposing themselves to deportation.  The answer is no.

We also know where illegal aliens are concentrated and we can look at voting patterns where they live.  According to a zip code map produced by the Public Policy Institute of California, the highest percentage of illegal aliens are found in Imperial County and in the agricultural counties of the Central Valley.

These counties have the lowest voter participation rates in the state; in 2016 voter turnout in these counties was well below the state average. Voter participation in Los Angeles County was also below the state average.  It is clear that the places where illegal immigrants are most concentrated have the lowest voter turnout.

So it is apparent that the 15 million plus adult Californians who did not vote in 2016 include the roughly two million adult illegal immigrants in this state, as well as legal immigrants and millions of eligible citizens that choose not to vote.

Mr. Trump has reason to be annoyed at his 2016 showing in California.  At only 31.6 percent of the vote, he ran worse than any Republican candidate in California since John C. Fremont in 1856 (and there really was no Republican Party then.)  He even ran behind Alf Landon, the hapless 1936 Republican candidate who carried only two states.

Trump’s dismal showing has much to do with the state of the Republican Party in California and his failure to mount any campaign here at all.  It has nothing to do with the 2.8 million illegal aliens who lived in the shadows during the 2016 campaign and still do.

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