Cleta Mitchell, president of the Republican National Lawyers Association, wrote:

Twelve thousand noncitizens registered to vote in Colorado; apparently 5,000 of those voted in 2010.

And later:

There were 645,775 votes cast in the Tennessee primary, and only 266 persons did not show a photo ID at the polls ... Those 266 individuals were allowed to vote provisionally and if they returned with their photo ID, their ballots were counted. 112 of them did so, leaving only 154 voters of the 645,775 who did not return with a photo ID. That represents .023 percent of the total primary voters.

Are these numbers accurate?

  • Did 5000 noncitizens vote in Colorado in 2010?
  • Were only 0.023 percent of Tennessee primary voters unable to provide photo ID?
  • The claim in the question doesn't match the title. Is the question "Did only 0.023% of voters fail to pass the ID check?" or "Are there more than 0.023% of fraudulent voters stopped by the Voter Id laws?" (Actually 0.024% with rounding :-) )
    – Oddthinking
    Sep 1, 2012 at 15:28
  • 2
    I think it would be better to ask these two questions separately. "Did 5000/12000 noncitizens vote in colorado in 2010?" is a separate and unrelated question to "Where only 0.023 percent of TN primary voters unable to provide photo ID?".
    – user5582
    Jun 21, 2013 at 19:50
  • @Sancho, that is true. They are related to voterID being an effective form of ensuring only eligible voters vote, as compared to VoterID suppressing legal votes.
    – user1873
    Jun 22, 2013 at 3:03
  • There were 266 voters who were offered provisional ballots, pending them returning with a photo ID. That, in no way, means that only 154 voters were blocked from voting. It means that there were 266 of the voters initially denied who claimed they could produce the needed ID and were allowed to cast provisional ballots. "Will you be able to return with a photo ID?" "No." "Then you can't cast a provisional ballot." - could be many times that number. Could be exactly that number, but the Tennessee claim compares apples to oranges. Feb 28, 2017 at 21:51

1 Answer 1


It isn't known if 5000 noncitizens voted in Colorado in 2010.

It is likely true that 154 of the 645,775 voters in the 2010 Tennessee primaries failed to produce photo ID.

Did 5000 noncitizens vote in Colorado in 2010?

These numbers come from a study from the Colorado Secretary of State.

Summarizing this study, the Committee of House Administration said:

Chairman of House Subcommittee on Elections Pledges Review of Voter Registration Processes After a Recent Study by Colorado Secretary of State Revealed 12,000 Non-Citizens Registered to Vote in 2010 Elections and 5,000 Likely Voted.


According to the study conducted by the Colorado Secretary of State in conjunction with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, 11,805 non-citizens registered to vote in the 2010 elections and 4,947 likely voted.

Now, quoting directly from the Secretary of State report, Comparison of Colorado's Voter Rolls With Department of Revenue Non-Citizen Records:

As discussed below, the Department of State is nearly certain that 106 individuals are improperly registered to vote. And potentially many of the remaining 11,805 individuals are also improperly registered to vote. It is impossible to provide a precise number, however, because voter registration data are inconclusive.


For the reasons discussed above, however, it is likely that many of the 4,947 voters were not citizens when they cast their vote in 2010.

Tennessee primary

That Tennessee blocked 154 voters from participating in its primary is supported by other sources (for example, Many voters may be deterred by tough ID laws):

Tennessee had 154 blocked ballots in its March primary.

NPR (which has a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy) repeated Mitchell's claim that 645,775 people cast votes in the Tennessee primary (Voting As A 'Responsibility': How Hard Should It Be?).

I haven't found a primary source for the 645,755 number, but I don't believe this is in question.

  • As far as I can tell, there wasn't a primary election in Tennessee in March 2010. There was one in August. The only statewide election on it was Governor, in which 725,408 votes were cast in the Republican primary and 284,894 in the Democratic primary (the latter of which was uncontested) for a total of 1,010,302 total votes cast. Source: TN Department of State
    – reirab
    Jan 10, 2016 at 19:08
  • Also, it's probably worth mentioning that Tennessee's voter ID law wasn't in effect until 2012.
    – reirab
    Jan 10, 2016 at 19:23

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