Fifty-eight-year-old Mario Hernandez was born in Cuba and came to the U.S. with his parents in the 1960s, a few years after his native land was taken over by communists.
This Wednesday, the New York Times reports from Miami, he became an American citizen: “It turns out that Mr. Hernandez, despite having voted in every major election since Jimmy Carter’s in 1976 and working for two state agencies and two federal agencies, including as a longtime supervisor for the Bureau of Prisons, was not even a United States resident.”
Hernandez’s case “represents a broken immigration system,” his lawyer, Elizabeth Ricci, tells the Times. No doubt about that. But it represents something else, too: a broken voting system.
Noncitizens, including legal resident aliens, are forbidden to vote in every state. States that have sought to incorporate verification of citizenship into the voter-registration process have encountered obstacles from the Obama administration and denunciations from the New York Times.
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He finally discovered he was not a citizen when he tried to apply for passport to take a retirement cruise.