Ted Cruz smacked down for lying that voting rights bill would register 'millions' of non-citizens to vote
Senator Ted Cruz speaking with attendees at the 2021 Young Latino Leadership Summit. (Gage Skidmore)

On Thursday, writing for CNN, fact-checker Daniel Dale eviscerated Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for his lie that the Democratic voting rights legislation currently under consideration in the Senate would register millions of non-citizens to vote.

Cruz, at a hearing this week on the bill, said that the For the People Act "directs" state officials "to break the law and register millions of people to vote who are not eligible to vote because they are not United States citizens" and "automatically registers to vote anyone who interacts with the government."

"All of these Cruz claims are false," wrote Dale. "Automatic voter registration does not mean that everyone living in a jurisdiction is automatically registered if they have any dealings with the government. Rather, it means that eligible citizens are proactively registered unless they opt out, rather than requiring them to opt in. More than a third of US states already have automatic voter registration, and there is no evidence that undocumented immigrants are being registered to vote in large numbers there."

"And here's a critical piece of context: Current federal law, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, also requires only an affirmation of citizenship for voter registration — in other words, no hard proof is required to register for federal elections now either — and there is no evidence of undocumented immigrants registering to vote in large numbers these days," wrote Dale. "Noncitizens face severe possible penalties, including prison time and deportation, for falsely claiming to be citizens in order to register or vote."

The For the People Act has little path in the Senate, as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has voiced opposition to certain provisions. Manchin has proposed an alternative, slightly more modest voting rights package, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said he intends to oppose this as well.