Last week we wrote about a mass shooting at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington about 65 miles north of Seattle that left 5 people dead (see "Five Killed At Washington State Mall; Manhunt For Gunman Continues"). The shooter fled the scene but was later captured and identified to be 20 year old Arcan Cetin a "legal, permanent resident" of the United States who immigrated from Turkey.
As it turns out, Cetin may be facing more charges than just 5 counts of murder as NBC News is reporting that investigators have discovered he voted in the past three election cycles, including the May presidential primary, despite the fact that he is not a U.S. citizen. Apparently the state of Washington frowns upon anyone other than U.S. citizens voting...that kind of behavior is only tolerated in swing states like Ohio and Florida.
Cetin, who immigrated to the United States from Turkey as a child, is a permanent U.S. resident but not a U.S. citizen which technically makes it a federal crime for him to participate in elections. While voters must attest to citizenship upon registering to vote, Washington state doesn't technically require proof of citizenship as the election system operates, more or less, "under an honor system".
As explained by Washington Secretary of State, Kim Wyman, there is no provision in Washington state law that allows election officials to verify someone's citizenship. The penalty for voting as a non U.S. citizen could result in five years of prison time and a $10,000 fine...though we suspect that's the least of his concerns.
"We don’t have a provision in state law that allows either county elections officials or the Secretary of State's office to verify someone’s citizenship. So, we’re in this place where we want to make sure we’re maintaining people’s confidence in the elections and the integrity of the process, but also that we’re giving this individual, like we would any voter, his due process. We’re moving forward, and that investigation is really coming out of the investigation from the shootings."
"The penalties are very serious. That’s why we want to make sure we’re very measured, and this is why we want to make sure we’re very calm and purposeful in how we move forward. The stakes are very high on both sides. You want to keep the confidence level high, but you also want to protect the voting rights of everyone."
"Our hands are kind of tied, but make no mistake, we want to make sure that everybody has confidence that people casting ballots are eligible. This is certainly going to be a topic at next legislation."
Of course, why would you need to verify someone's citizenship before allowing them to vote? This all sounds like some alt-right, "xenophobic" conspiracy.