Democratic Party leadership in Congress is reportedly preparing to oppose upcoming legislation that would require proof of US citizenship to vote in federal elections, urging all Democrats to vote “no” on the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act. The legislation, backed by prominent House Republicans, comes as the issue of non-citizen voting takes center stage in the run-up to the 2024 election, with Democrats denying it exists and Republicans countering with accusations of “treason.”

First reported by Axios, House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-MA) revealed in a whip question—a summary of upcoming legislation that includes party instructions on how the rank-and-file should vote—that “Democrats are urged to VOTE NO” on the SAVE Act when it is put up for a vote next week. This means that Clark’s office will likely send out staffers to persuade/pressure party members to stand against the bill, which the Minority Whip says would “prevent Americans from registering to vote with their drivers’ license alone” and would make a passport the “only acceptable standalone form of identification.”

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On Monday, the Biden administration officially came out against the SAVE Act as well, contending that such bills are unnecessary because it is already illegal for non-citizens to vote in federal elections. As such, the White House sees claims of non-citizen voting as “easily disproven falsehoods.”

After initially being pushed by Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) officially unveiled the legislation at a press conference at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year.

According to the text of the bill, voters would be required to present “documentary proof of United States citizenship” to participate in federal elections. This identification could include a passport, a driver’s license, or other forms of photo ID accompanied by a birth certificate. Non-citizens will be purged from voter registration rolls and election workers could face legal consequences for not asking for proof of citizenship during the voter registration process.

Leading up to the week-long Independence Day Congressional recess, Speaker Johnson circulated a 22-page memo making the case for the SAVE Act, arguing that “lax voter registration laws make it possible for noncitizens to register and vote in federal elections while campaign finance loopholes allow noncitizens to fund U.S. election activities – both of which can affect the outcome of our elections.” Johnson’s report points to multiple instances of non-citizens being removed from voter rolls in Massachusetts, Ohio, and Virginia.

Related: Non-Citizens Are Being Handed Voter Registration Forms Throughout US

In May, Republicans held a separate vote to block non-citizens from voting in local elections in Washington DC, receiving support from 52 breakaway Democrats. That bill ultimately stalled in the Democrat-majority Senate—a fate that may befall the SAVE Act as well.

Responding to Johnson’s explanation of the bill on X, platform owner Elon Musk declared that “those who oppose this are traitors. All Caps: TRAITORS.”

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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