Published October 20, 2016

A news story on checking records for non-citizens in NC (http://www.journalnow.com/news/elections/state/dmv-search-of-records-turns-up-ineligible-n-c-voters/article_f4ecc2ae-5981-11e4-9f35-0017a43b2370.html) provides a rare opportunity to estimate the voter registration rate for a defined group of non-citizens — undocumented immigrants who have filed paperwork under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in North Carolina.  According to the numbers in the story, there were 145 registered voters among the approximately 15,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) individuals with a driver’s license in North Carolina.

This implies that approximately one percent (145 / 15,000 = 0.97%) of DACA non-citizens are registered to vote.  There is no way to know how DACA registration rates compare to other non-citizens, nor does the story discuss how many have cast votes.  But this does potentially provide a very useful data point with which to cross-check other estimates of the frequency with which non-citizens register and vote because of the advantages provided by the clearly defined subset of immigrants who are part of the DACA program.

Given the noise in all datasets, and the inevitable vagaries of matching processes it is possible that some of these apparent DACA voter registrants either are not in DACA, or are not actually registered to vote, or that more are registered to vote than could be successfully matched.

But these numbers also put in context claims about massive voter fraud.  The story was cited in a recent Project Veritas video.  A one percent registration rate by DACA non-citizens is sufficient to tip an EXTREMELY close election if DACA registrants vote lopsidedly for one candidate.  But only an extremely close election.  A concern?  Arguably.  A substantial if modest number? Assuredly.  Sky falling?  No.

April 12, 2017 update.

In the process of reviewing the evidence on this issue, I learned that the initial news report on which I based my estimate had an incorrect count of the number of DACA registrants.  That number should have been 109 instead.[1]  This leads to a revised estimate for North Carolina of 109 / 15000 = 0.73 %.

[1] https://www.ncsbe.gov/press-releases?udt_2226_param_detail=15

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All postings on this website represent the opinions, analyses, and interpretations of the author alone.

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