Fact Check: 2 Million Voters Did NOT Register Without Photo ID In Arizona, Pennsylvania, Texas In First 3 Months Of 2024

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: 2 Million Voters Did NOT Register Without Photo ID In Arizona, Pennsylvania, Texas In First 3 Months Of 2024 Overstated

Did 2 million voters register without a photo ID in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Texas during the first three months of 2024? No, that's not true: Election officials from these three states told Lead Stories that this figure from a social media post does not represent the number of new voters actually registered in their states without a photo ID during January, February and March 2024. The officials said the total number of such voters for this period is less than a tenth what is claimed.

The claim appeared on April 2, 2024, in a post (archived here) by End Wokeness on X, the site formerly known as Twitter. The post's caption said:


The number of voters registering without a photo ID is SKYROCKETING in 3 key swing states:

Arizona, Texas, and Pennsylvania.

Since the start of 2024:

TX: 1,250,710
PA: 580,513
AZ: 220,731

HAVV allows voters to register with a Social Security Number (4 digits).

Illegals are not able to get licenses there. But they can get Social Security Cards (for work authorization permits).

Data is publicly available: https://ssa.gov/open/havv/havv-weekly-2024-01-13.html

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:


(Source: X.com screenshot taken on Thu Apr 4 22:06:17 2024 UTC)

What is HAVV?

HAVV in the post refers to the Help America Vote Verification (HAVV) system (archived here), which is part of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush. The HAVV website says this is how the voter authentication tool works:

States must only submit a request to us for new voters who do not present a valid driver's license during the voter registration process. HAVV verifies the accuracy of the name, date of birth, and last four digits of SSN submitted and sends an indication of whether our records show the individual as deceased.

According to the HAVV website, all three states in the post named in the post -- Texas, Pennsylvania and Arizona -- use the HAVV system.

State by state

Lead Stories contacted the Texas Secretary of State (TX SOS), the Pennsylvania Department of State (PA DOS) and the Arizona Secretary of State (AZ SOS), who oversee election data, to get their voter registration numbers for roughly the first three months of 2024. They said the social media post doesn't match their figures. The sum of the official tallies, provided by email on April 4 and April 5, 2024, is less than 10 percent of the total figure included in the social media post. The numbers can be seen below:


(Table created by Lead Stories on Fri Apr 5 2024 UTC from information provided by TX SOS, PA DOS and AZ SOS)

Texas Secretary of State

In an April 4, 2024, email, Alicia Pierce, Texas assistant secretary of state for communications, referred Lead Stories to a news release (archived here) a day earlier from Texas Secretary of State Jane Nelson. It said (emphasis added by Lead Stories):

It is totally inaccurate that 1.2 million voters have registered to vote in Texas without a photo ID this year. The truth is our voter rolls have increased by 57,711 voters since the beginning of 2024. This is less than the number of people registered in the same timeframe in 2022 (about 65,000) and in 2020 (about 104,000).

When Texans register to vote, they must provide a driver license number or a Social Security number. When an individual registers to vote with just a SSN, the state verifies that the SSN is authentic.

While federal law allows individuals to register to vote without a photo ID, Texans must actually show proof of ID to vote. The 1.2 million figure comes from the Social Security Administration's (SSA) website, which is supposed to report the number of times states have asked to verify an individual's social security number. The SSA number is clearly incorrect, and we are working now to determine why there is such a large discrepancy.

Pennsylvania Department of State

In an April 5, 2024, email to Lead Stories, Pennsylvania Department of State press secretary Matt Heckel provided the response below to the claims about Pennsylvania's voter registration . The statement said (emphasis ours):

As of April 3, there have been more than 76,000 new voter registrations in 2024. That is compared to nearly 102,000 new voter registrations in that same time frame in 2020.

In Pennsylvania, the Department of State uses the Help America Vote Verification to check partial social security numbers (SSN) not only for voter registration applications, but also for absentee and mail ballot applications. In many cases, the same voter's partial SSN is being checked more than once in a single year.

The HAVV data cited in the social media post represents only the raw number of transactions that Pennsylvania counties sent for SSN verification. The data does not represent the numbers of newly registered voters, and any representation that they do is false.

Referring to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Pennsylvania Department of State statement continued:

In order to register to vote, applicants need to provide their PennDOT driver's license or ID card number on their voter registration application. Those without a PennDOT number can use their Social Security number. Their eligibility to vote will ultimately be determined by their county board of elections.

Pennsylvania law does not require individuals to provide photo identification when applying to register to vote.

Arizona Secretary of State

In an April 4, 2024, email, JP Martin, deputy communications director for the Arizona Secretary of State, referred Lead Stories to a social media post (archived here) by Maricopa County, Arizona, Recorder Stephen Richer. In it, Richer responds to a post on X (archived here) by X owner Elon Musk, who shared and amplified the misrepresented numbers in the original End of Wokeness post. Musk replied to the post: "Extremely concerning."

This is what the caption for Richer's post partly said (emphasis by Lead Stories):

Hi Elon!

The post you're quote-tweeting seems to suggest that, based on Social Security Administration data, 220,731 illegal immigrants have registered to vote in Arizona since January 1, 2024.

A few things if I may be so bold (since I have easy access to Maricopa County's data -- which makes up 62% of Arizona):

1) Only 39,653 new voters have registered in Maricopa County in 2024 in total. For Arizona, that number is about 60,000.

2) Arizona's voter rolls have actually been going down. In Maricopa County, we've gone from about 2.6 million active registered voters in 2020 to about 2.4 million active registered voters in 2024.

3) SSA is not used to check citizenship. It's used to check proof of identity.

This is what Richer's post looked like on X at the time of writing:


(Source: X screenshot taken on Fri Apr 5 17:45:41 2024 UTC)

Arizona Secretary of State Deputy Communications Director Martin added these details about election law in Arizona:

It is important to clarify that Arizona uniquely mandates documentary proof of citizenship for participating in statewide elections. This requirement is distinct from federal election protocols, where Arizona aligns with national standards. To register, an individual must not only provide this documentary evidence but also affirmatively attest to their citizenship status by checking the appropriate box.

The statutory requirement for documentary proof of citizenship for voter registration in Arizona can be found in Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 16-166, specifically subsection F. This section outlines the types of acceptable evidence for proving U.S. citizenship, such as a driver's license issued after October 1, 1996, birth certificate, U.S. passport, naturalization documents, and others. It's clear from this statute that Arizona enforces a specific process for verifying citizenship for voter registration, distinguishing its approach from other states.

Read more

Other Lead Stories fact checks about U.S. elections can be found here.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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