Qualifications to legally vote


In a few days, we will have the most defining midterm elections of our time. The balance of power in Congress, the House and Senate, will be decided. Do we continue to be led by radical Socialist policies by this White House or do we return to the checks and balances that our Founders put into place when forming our great young Republic?

The most critical issue at hand has everything to do with our Sovereignty. As a nation governed by the Rule of Law it seems that some of our current leaders have completely abandoned our Constitution and have chosen sound bites to scare voters. The question at hand is who exactly is qualified to vote in the United States. For the past few elections, people voted who did not meet the Constitutional qualifications.

There have been accusations of voter suppression of late. I categorically state that voter suppression does exist. Most prevalent today is the nullification of Constitutionally legal votes by US Citizens that are erased by every illegal vote cast by non-citizens.

Early voting now seems to be holding that pattern of not requiring proof of citizenship. The U.S. Constitutional requirement of voter eligibility states that a person needs to be 18 years old and most importantly, a United States citizen. As stated in the Constitution in Amendment 14 Section 1, “All persons born or naturalized” are citizens of the U.S. and the state in which they reside.

Why, then, are so many non-citizens voting in our elections?

I was born in Cuba and my family and I came to the United States in 1960 fleeing the brutal communist takeover by Fidel Castro and his goons. Many Cubans fled in the same manner. We were welcomed with the open arms and generosity by this great country. We in turn respect and love our adopted country and abide by its laws. Many Cuban refugees fought in the Vietnam War in the 1960s and many have served our country in the military and elsewhere, as I have.

We strived to make a difference in this great nation. One of our goals was to participate fully in this democracy. We waited our turn and became “naturalized” U.S. citizens.

Becoming a U.S. citizen was one of the happiest moments of my life and of my family’s. We wanted to be able to vote and make a contribution to our communities and our nation. We do these actions in order to fulfill our civic duties, our obligations. When my family and I went to register to vote we needed to show proper identification and proof of citizenship. This means we needed either a birth certificate or our Naturalization papers. This was a requirement to ensure that only U.S. citizens of the proper age would be able to vote.

Now we see differing voting requirements across the country. The Constitution allows the states some leeway in how they conduct their elections, with early voting as an example. Most states have the provision that you must be a United States citizen to vote. Some do not. Some do not even require a formal ID.

It is the “law” that for all federal elections, you must have proof of U.S. citizenship. either by birth or Naturalization. This federal requirement includes the election of U.S. Members of Congress, US House of Representatives, U.S. Senators, the President of the United States and the Vice President of the United States. In all states, the ballots that have “federal” candidates require U.S. citizenship to vote for them, together with local and state candidates that may not have such citizenship requirements.

There is no differentiation or distinction made at the voting centers of whether the voter is a U.S. citizen or a non-citizen. They all can vote for all candidates. This is a clear violation of the law when voting for “federal” candidates. We have allowed illegal aliens, foreign nationals, criminals, and enemies of our country to vote for the highest offices in our county. No other country allows such a travesty.

How can we have honest, clean elections when we do not even require a photo ID? In the states that require identification, only a driver’s license or another form of ID is asked for. No proof of citizenship is asked for. Anyone can get a driver’s license. This lack of verification can lead our elections to be compromised by outside forces that do not have our best interests at heart.

Our current administration and its Justice Department have done all they can to get rid of the requirements needed to vote in this country. This is obviously done for political reasons. This is done without any regard for the sanctity of our “votes.”

With so many undocumented immigrants pouring into this country and an administration that is bypassing Congress and printing millions of “green cards,” it is only a matter of time before these non-citizens will be voting and shaping our country’s future. There has been a catastrophic increase of young single men pouring through our Southern Border. The increase in members of three Communist countries, Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua is no accident. This Administration and our invisible Border Czar are purposely absent. A clear Dereliction of Duty. No other country in the world would allow non-citizens to vote and influence their future. The most obvious is Mexico. If we continue on this destructive path of defiance and complacency, we will lose our voices.

Our history is mixed regarding the voting rights that have led to this. But what is clear is that the requirement of citizenship is mandatory to vote for “federal office”. Our Secretaries of State need to enforce both state laws and federal laws to ensure we do not lose our God-given right to govern ourselves. Our Founding Fathers fought for the right to govern ourselves and not to be dictated to by foreign forces. 

As a proud, voting, citizen of the United States, I call on all responsible authorities to enforce the law and assure that our elections are legal and our voters are U.S. citizens. Voters need to have been born in the United States or be Naturalized citizens.

A recent President said before leaving office that the United States of America is “Not an Exceptional Country.” That President’s party is trying very hard to make that so. I strongly believe in my heart and our past leadership in the world, that we are indeed an Exceptional Country. Let’s pray it stays that way.

• Antonio Benedi is former Presidential Commissioned Officer and Special Assistant to President George H.W. Bush and a naturalized United States citizen.

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