Federal law restricts voting in presidential elections to U.S. citizens. But the power of each citizen to determine the ultimate outcome is influenced, in part, by the geographical distribution of non-citizens.
The 2000 Census counted 18.5 million non-citizens, including an estimated 7 million illegal aliens. And immigrants tend to cluster in ethnic enclaves. Nearly 30 percent of America's foreign-born live in California, for example, compared with only 12 percent of the total U.S. population.
In Table I we allocate the electoral vote impact among the so-called red states and blue states. Our analysis shows that states that voted for Bush in 2000 (the red states) suffer a net loss of 9 electoral votes due to the foreign-born population. The blue—Democratic—states gain 9 seats.
Of course, some of those foreign-born are citizens. But looking only at the impact of non-citizens (which includes illegal aliens), we find it still transfers 4 electoral votes from the red Republican states to the blue Democratic states.
Which could be vital. Keep in mind that George W. Bush won the 2000 election with 271 electoral votes – just four more than Al Gore, and just one vote above the 270 needed for election.
If any of the 30 states in Bush's column had gone the other way—including New Hampshire (4 electoral votes) and West Virginia (5 votes)—we'd be in the fourth year of the Gore Administration.
The effect of counting the foreign-born, including illegals, for purposes of apportionment has been distorting the House of Representatives for some time. Districts with many illegal immigrants are becoming "rotten boroughs," electing Congressman with the votes of their small numbers of citizens, who are in effect given more power than the rest of us.
On Tuesday night, the distortion that illegal immigration is bringing to American institutions could claim its first Presidential victim.
[Number fans click here for tables.]