‘That’s incorrect!’ New US citizen corrects feds who told group they can’t vote yet

Chacour Koop

A newly sworn-in U.S. citizen corrected federal officials at a naturalization ceremony who said they couldn’t vote in the 2020 election, reports say.

Erika Constantine says she spoke up during a ceremony Monday in Boston after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told the group of new U.S. citizens the voter registration deadline had passed in Massachusetts, GBH News reported.

“So I raised my hand and said, ‘That’s incorrect!’” Constantine told the public radio station.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Boston District Director Denis Riordan confirmed officials at naturalization ceremonies this week incorrectly told new citizens they missed the deadline, which he blamed on an error on the state’s election website, The Associated Press reported.

A Massachusetts secretary of state spokeswoman told AP that the website didn’t have details for new citizens sworn in after the voter registration deadline.

“We have certainly made them aware of this in the past,” Debra O’Malley told AP. “Perhaps they have new people, perhaps it wasn’t communicated. I can’t really say. I wish they had contacted us directly beforehand.”

The deadline to register to vote in Massachusetts was Oct. 24. The website now includes information for new citizens sworn in after this date, who have until Nov. 2 to register.

“You should bring documentation to show that your naturalization ceremony occurred after the voter registration deadline,” the website says.

The federal agency is now contacting over 400 new citizens sworn in at 36 ceremonies in Massachusetts this week, Riordan told GBH News.

“It is vitally important that we protect the integrity of this election,” Constantine, a medical professor at Brown University, tweeted. “What is happening at other US Citizenship and Immigration Service Offices in the country?”

On Friday, Constantine shared a photo of herself voting for the first time as a U.S. citizen.

Voter registration deadlines vary widely across the country. Some states require voters to register 30 days before an election while other allow registration on Election Day, according to Vote.org. North Dakota doesn’t require residents to register vote — only a valid ID is required, the website says.

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