Arcan Cetin, the Washington Cascade Mall shooter who killed two women, is now being investigated for his citizenship status and his voting record. Legally, Cetin is not a U.S. citizen, so he is prohibited from voting. However, records indicate Cetin was allowed to vote in the last three election cycles since 2014.
The Turkish green card holder came to the U.S. as a child, establishing a permanent residency amongst the American populace despite it being illegal to do so. Washington state doesn’t legally require proof of citizenship to vote, and instead relies on an “honor system” through its operational ballot procedures. Basically, it leaves a lot of wiggle room for people to lie on their registration.
Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman explains in further detail:
“We don’t have a provision in state law that allows us 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.”
The financial punishment for voting as a non U.S. citizen could result in at least five years of prison time or a fine of $10,000. Wyman ensures that her office and elected officials are doing everything thing in their power to make the system work more efficiently: “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.”
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