The United States House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to pass the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act, requiring individuals to prove US citizenship in order to vote in federal elections. The bill, which passed with support from nearly every Republican and just five Democrats, now faces an uncertain future in the Democrat-controlled Senate—and its chances are even slimmer on President Joe Biden’s desk given his promise to veto the SAVE Act immediately.

According to the final vote tally, the SAVE Act passed the House 221-198, with 216 Republicans and five Democrats for and 198 Democrats against. Ten Democrats and four Republicans abstained from the vote.

The Democrats who broke with their party to vote in favor of the bill include Reps. Henry Cuellar (TX), Donald Davis (NC), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA), Jared Golden (ME), and Vicente Gonzalez (TX).

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If implemented, the bill would amend the National Voter Registration Act requiring states to purge non-citizens from voter rolls and obtain citizenship documents from voters. It would also implement harsh penalties, including up to five years in prison, for election workers who knowingly register non-citizens to vote.

As reported earlier this week, House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-MA) urged all Democrats to vote “no” on the bill, arguing that it would “prevent Americans from registering to vote with their drivers’ license alone” and would make a passport the “only acceptable standalone form of identification.”

“Today 198 House Democrats voted against preventing illegal aliens from voting in American elections,” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) said in a statement after the legislation passed. “House Democrats have now proven they believe that illegal aliens should vote in American elections.”

Democrats and the Biden administration both argue that, because it is already illegal for non-citizens to vote in federal elections, such legislation is unnecessary and reports of the issue are “easily disproven falsehoods.”

However, evidence shows that voter registration forms have been distributed to non-citizens across the country, even in municipalities where it is illegal to do so. Speaker Johnson’s office released a report detailing many of these instances ahead of the vote.

After passing the Republican-controlled House, the SAVE Act now faces long odds in the Senate, where similar legislation has stalled in the face of Democrat opposition. Additionally, President Biden has already formally rejected the bill on the grounds that states “already have effective safeguards in place to verify voters’ eligibility and maintain the accuracy of voter rolls.” As such, he will likely veto the bill should it manage to pass the Senate.

Connor Walcott is a staff writer for Follow Connor on X and look for him on VT’s “The Unusual Suspects.”

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