Voter fraud? Non-citizen can register to vote in Arizona; officials, law enforcement investigating

Posted at 3:53 AM, Oct 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-31 21:00:00-04

An Arizona man, who is not a legal U.S. citizen, admits he was able to register to vote.

ABC15 is not releasing his name, however he claims to have lived in the U.S. for more than 25 years and has a green card, a social security number and an Arizona driver license.

"I'm not a citizen but I am legal in this country," he said. "I have a permanent resident alien card."

A few months ago the non-citizen says he was joking around with a co-worker who was having problem registering to vote.

RELATED: Arizona voter registration up 188K since August

"I was like, I bet I could do it as a non-citizen because we've heard of all the things going on," he said.

He plugged in the required information including his name, social security number and driver's license.

"The only thing I checked - that I shouldn't have -- was 'Legal Citizen' but I assumed they were going to catch that," he said.

However, no government agency caught it. A few weeks later he received his voter registration card in the mail.

"It makes me really think the system is rigged," he said. "Not towards a political party but that the system is broken. How can it be 2016 and all these departments can't catch that I lied on my registration?" 

Out of disbelief, he contacted ABC15 to reveal the potential problem.

"I wanted to see if the system really worked and it didn't," he said. "I thought people should know about it."

ABC15 contacted the Maricopa County Recorder's Office who was not aware of the problem.

A few days later, the man says an investigator called and questioned him on how he was able to register to vote.

"He asked me 'Did you give them your correct social?' I said, 'Yes.' 'Did you give them your correct driver's license?' I said, ''Yes.'" 

"He was shocked," he said. "He (the investigator) asked, 'What were you trying to accomplish with this?' I said, this all really just started off as a joke and now it's really just more of trying to prove a point that look you don't have to be a citizen and you can register," he said,

When he asked if he would get in any trouble, the investigator said, "I can't respond to that. Just don't pursue it any further."

A few weeks later, he received his early ballot in the mail.

"It's just wrong," he said. "I wouldn't vote. I never intended to vote. I know I am not a legal citizen but my wife is a citizen. It makes me wonder - does her vote really matter?"

Spokesperson for Maricopa County Records Office Elizabeth Bartholomew said this individual was able to register because of a loophole in the system.

"We don't check citizenship based on a person's social security, we check on their driver's license," said Bartholomew. 

"Any person who got a driver's license after 1996 had to prove citizenship to the MVD. (The individual) had gotten a driver's license in 1994 so he did not need to prove citizenship. However, for some reason after 1996 he had to get a new license reissued to him and he was never scanned for citizenship at that point (the loophole)." 

Bartholomew said regardless of the loophole, the individual lied on a government form and falsely registered stating he was a citizen - which is a Class 6 felony. 

The Maricopa County Attorney's office confirms they are investigating to see if charges are warranted.