Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson wants everyone to believe “only U.S. citizens can register to vote or cast ballots in our elections.”

“Anyone who claims otherwise is intentionally misleading you,” she said in a recent “Friday fact” X post.

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Benson made no differentiation between local, state or federal elections, perhaps in an effort to intentionally mislead.

“In fact, it is illegal for noncitizens to vote and it is extremely rare for anyone who’s not a citizen to even attempt to register to vote or cast a ballot,” she said. “That’s true here in Michigan and in every other state.”

She made similar assertions during what was billed as what will be a regular appearance on Fox 2 leading up to the November election.

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Media reports from as recently as last year clearly dispute Benson’s comments.

A year ago, on March 14, the District of Columbia became the largest U.S. city to allow its roughly 42,000 noncitizens, including illegal immigrants, to vote in municipal elections. That change came just five days after voters in Vermont’s largest city, Burlington, authorized the same.

The Vermont legislature later enacted the change over a veto from Gov. Phil Scott, making it the third city in the state to allow noncitizen voting, following Montpelier and Winooski.

“The three Vermont cities are among more than a dozen communities in a handful of states – including New York City, and a number of towns in Maryland – that allow noncitizens to vote in local elections,” according to The Associated Press. “Eight states have laws that only allow U.S. citizens to vote in elections, according to the group Americans for Citizen Voting.”

Ballotpedia, “the encyclopedia of American politics,” points to a 2017 article published by University of Kentucky College of Law Associate Professor Joshua Douglas that identifies 14 states with “no clear impediments to municipalities passing their own voter qualification laws.” Two of those states have since approved constitutional amendments to restrict voting to citizens, leaving a dozen states that allow municipalities to enact noncitizen voting without legislative approval: Arkansas, California, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin.

“In 46 states, constitutional language discussing citizenship says who can vote (e.g. ‘every citizen’ or ‘all citizens’), but does not state that noncitizens cannot vote,” according to Ballotpedia.

In recent years, Republicans have worked to limit voting to U.S. citizens, including a resolution from Rep. Claudia Teeney, a New York Republican who chairs the House Election Integrity Caucus, calling for a constitutional amendment to ban noncitizen voting at any level, Michigan Advance reports.

Secretaries of State from Georgia and elsewhere have also called on Congress to prohibit noncitizen voting, while congressional Republicans have asked Minnesota election officials “to investigate claims that DACA recipients and other non-citizens are voting in Minnesota’s elections.”

In Michigan, liberal activists with the ACLU, SEIU, and Latin Americans for Social and Economic Justice in 2012 filed a lawsuit against Benson’s predecessor Ruth Johnson to prevent the state from asking voters: “Are you a United States citizen?”

Johnson wanted to ensure only citizens could vote, but her requests for assistance to purge ineligible voters were rebuffed by the former President Barack Obama administration’s Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration four times, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.

“As was the case in other states, Michigan’s review of voter lists uncovered a significant number of ineligible voters. Investigators examined a sample of 58,000 driver’s license and ID card records and found 963 non-citizens registered to vote,” according to the site. “Of these, 54 had voted a total of 95 times.

“Using census data, Johnson’s staff has estimated that about 4,000 non-citizens could be registered to vote in Michigan.”

In March, the Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit against Benson for failing to maintain Michigan’s voter rolls, as required by federal law.

“Election integrity starts with clean voter rolls, and that’s why the National Voter Registration Act requires state officials to keep their rolls accurate and up-to-date,” RNC Chairman Michael Whatley said “Jocelyn Benson has failed to follow the NVRA, leaving Michigan with inflated and inaccurate voter rolls ahead of the 2024 election.”

The lawsuit is among others challenging Benson policies that make it easier to cheat at the ballot box in Michigan. Michigan has 8.1 million registered voters for a voting age population of 7.9 million, or 102.8% of the number of legal voters. Supporters of former President Donald Trump raised concerns about how the discrepancy could create fraud with mail-in voting as early as mid-2020.

There’s more than 625,000 Michigan voter registrations slated to be canceled in the coming years, but instead of working to eliminate concerns about noncitizen voters and other election integrity issues by vetting those registrations, Benson’s office has vowed to ensure they remain on the voter rolls for the maximum time allowed by federal guidelines.