'We don't have a provision in state law ... to verify someone’s citizenship'
Published: 12 hours ago
Armed gunman who killed five in the Cascade Mall, Burlington, Washington
Add voter fraud to the list of Arcan Cetin’s offenses.
Cetin, 20, is the Turkish immigrant arrested Saturday for the Friday night shooting and killing of five people in a Burlington, Washington, mall. Security camera’s show Cetin entering the mall briefly without a weapon, leaving and then returning with a rifle.
Cetin fled but was apprehended 24 hours later. He has reportedly confessed to the five murders.
Now, election officials and Washington Secretary of State, Kim Wyman, have confirmed that Cetin was illegally registered to vote and voted in three elections in the state in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Cetin is classified as a permanent resident alien with a green card that allows him to work, but he is not a citizen with the right to vote.
Cetin immigrated to the U.S. from Turkey when he was 6-years-old.
Voters in Washington must attest to their American citizenship when registering to vote, but the state does not require proof. Election officials told KVI News the state’s election system operates on the honor system.
“We don’t have a provision in state law that allows us – either county elections officials or the Secretary of State’s office – to verify someone’s citizenship,” said Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman.
“So, we’re in this place where we want to make sure we’re maintaining people’s confidence in the elections and the integrity of the process, but also that we’re giving this individual, like we would any voter, his due process. We’re moving forward, and that investigation is really coming out of the investigation from the shootings.”
Washington sets the penalty for voting by a non-citizen at up to five years in prison or a $10,000 fine.
“The penalties are very serious. That’s why we want to make sure we’re very measured, and this is why we want to make sure we’re very calm and purposeful in how we move forward,” Wyman saidd. “The stakes are very high on both sides. You want to keep the confidence level high, but you also want to protect the voting rights of everyone.”
Wyman admitted she had no way of knowing how many non-citizens were registered to vote in the state, but she did not think the revelation about Cetin indicated there was a need for worry.