If you regularly watch television or listen to the radio, you are probably sick of hearing campaign commercials. These commercials are effective, though. Indeed, they tend to persuade individuals to support certain candidates or policies. If you feel strongly about someone or something, you may be itching to cast a ballot.
Voting in U.S. elections is something only U.S. citizens typically can do. Therefore, if you are not a U.S. citizen, it may be unlawful for you to register to vote or to submit a completed ballot. In addition to possibly facing criminal charges, you can incur catastrophic immigration consequences for voting.
Making a false citizenship claim
As you probably know, being a citizen of the U.S. comes with some valuable rights and responsibilities. Among others is the right to vote in U.S. elections. Consequently, when you register to vote, you often must certify that you are a citizen. Voting, of course, implicitly makes this claim.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, both registering to vote and voting can constitute making a false citizenship claim. Accordingly, before doing either, you must be certain you have the legal authority to do so.
Incurring immigration consequences
False claims to U.S. citizenship can make a person both deportable and inadmissible. If you are already in the country with a valid immigration status or no status whatsoever, voting can result in your permanent removal from the country. It also can keep you from ever reentering the U.S. legally again.
Ultimately, if you are passionate about a candidate or an issue, you should consider applying for U.S. citizenship before taking any steps to participate in an American election.