SEATTLE -- The Secretary of State’s office says Washington state won’t be able to access a federal database of legal immigrants to examine voting eligibility.
Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed had been attempting to access Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program, which houses information on legal immigrants such as green card holders, refugees and naturalized citizens.
The database can be used to determine an immigrant’s access to certain services. Reed wanted to access the program as one tool to look for immigrants who may have been registered to vote but shouldn’t have.
Other states have gained access, prompting a pushback by advocacy groups who see the move as voter purging.
Reed says his office cannot access the program unless lawmakers pass a measure allowing it the state to gather alien identification numbers, which in other states are collected during an application for a driver’s license.