The Campaign Spot

The Mystery of the (Alleged) Bombers’ Voter Registration

This morning, people are responding in shock at a Buzzfeed report that Djohan and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are registered to vote (complete with screenshots of their voter registration records). People are wondering how the Tsarnaevs could be registered to vote if they were not U.S. citizens.

One report indicates the pair were permanent residents, a legal status that does not permit a person to vote in federal elections:

 Non-U.S. citizens, including permanent residents (green card holders), who vote, or register to vote, in a federal election also can be denied naturalization and/or removed (deported) from the United States. 

There are very few jurisdictions where a non-U.S. citizen may vote in a local election.  However, this web site does not provide information regarding voting qualifications for state and local elections.  You can obtain information regarding voting qualifications in local elections from your local voting authority.  It is important to remember that even if you are allowed to vote in a local election, you are not eligible to vote in a federal election if you are not a U.S. citizen, nor in any other election that requires you to be a U.S. citizen.

A Campaign Spot reader checked the Massachusetts voter database and did not find the name.

The issue may relate to being registered to vote in local elections:

The idea of petitioning to legalize voting for noncitizens in Massachusetts is nothing new. Officials in Amherst, Cambridge and Newton all have approved measures affording local voting rights to noncitizens, but the state Legislature must approve them, something it has not done to date. Cambridge filed a petition in 2004 to allow noncitizens older than the age of 18 to vote in elections for school committee and city council, according to interim city clerk Donna Lopez.

However, the Cambridge Election Commission states, “You may register to vote in Cambridge if you are a US citizen, a resident of Cambridge, and will be at least 18 years old on or before Election Day.”

So the pair should not have been registered to vote… and yet, somehow, they were.

UPDATE: Judicial Watch cites an unnamed source that “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was rewarded with American Citizenship on September 11, 2012 in Boston.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Peter Baker of the New York Times quotes an unidentified government official who says, “younger Chechen became U.S. citizen last year and the older was in the middle of the process.”

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