David Harris recently ran a story claiming that 100,000 illegal aliens were registered to vote in Pennsylvania. It takes some time to unpeel both parts of the story –the total number and their legal status—but the claim is both disingenuous and inaccurate.
According to Harris:
Most of Harris’ article comes from a February 26, 2018 Washington Times story by Stephen Dinan.
One part of the claim is already easy to debunk The Washington Times correctly uses the term “noncitizens,” while Harris transforms the term into “illegal aliens.” Harris is just plain wrong.
The 100,000 figure takes more work.
As mentioned above, the lawsuit comes from the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF)
The PILF page regarding the 100,000 illegal voters is here:
The 100,000 number is featured in the PILF lawsuit on page 19:
So, the real meat to the Harris article and the PILF claim seems to be from Philadelphia County Commissioner Al Schmidt, who testified before the Pennsylvania State House Government Committee on October 25, 2017.
In his written statement to the committee, Schmidt said [boldface in original document]:
The root of the problem was a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation computer program that allowed people applying for a driver’s license to also register to vote. The program did not separate citizens from recent legal immigrants who could possess a driver’s license, but not vote.
As Schmidt points out in his testimony, these immigrants had to provide documentation when they apply for a license.
In his verbal testimony before the committee, starting at 1:03:50, Schmidt does discuss the possibility of 100,000 illegally registered voters. However, if you listen to his testimony, if is not definitive. The 100,000 is an estimated match with federal immigration records.
However, as soon as he says this, Schmidt begins walking back the number. He mentions that some of the people might have received citizenship. The actual number may be in the “thousands or tens of thousands.” In other words, he does not know. Since he is commissioner only for Philadelphia, his data is incomplete.
But there is a very large gap between the 220 non-citizens verified by Schmidt between 2006 and 2017 and the 100,000 in his worst case scenario today, a scenario that he does not actually claim is likely.
David Harris simply manipulated the two parts of Schmidt’s testimony: (1) redefining a possibly illegal vote by a non-citizen and making it a vote by an illegal alien and (2) grossly exaggerating the number from unverified information.