More than 1,000 non-citizens registered to vote in Virginia during the 2008 and 2012 elections, according to a watchdog group.

The recent report issued by the Virginia Voters Alliance and Public Interest Legal Foundation show just how easy it is for aliens and non-citizens to grab a voter registration form and mislead election officials. Often, by the time voter fraud is discovered, votes have been cast, watering down the integrity of U.S. elections, according to election watchdog groups.

“[Voter fraud] is bigger than one instance. The problem is systemic, and the system is failing.”

In Washington State, after the killing of five Seattle-area citizens, officials rushed to confirm the citizenship of Turkish immigrant Arcan Cetin. Officials now say he is a U.S. citizen, but the resulting controversy led Kim Wyman, the Washington secretary of state, to band together with local auditors to propose requiring proof of citizenship at registration.

Many observers say the reason to ask for proof beyond a signature is because it’s too easy for non-citizens and corrupt party operatives to cheat. It’s so easy to cheat the system that dead people were recently registered to vote in Virginia.

Only three states ask for citizenship proof at registration: Alabama, Kansas, and Georgia. Only Kansas was enforcing the law, until it was blocked temporarily by a federal judge in mid-September.

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Becoming more common in U.S. politics are dust-ups between those who believe voter fraud is real and regular, and those who believe it is rare and unworthy of new regulations. As the presidential election draws near on Nov. 8, Republicans are on watch against fraud.

Democrats and liberal organizations, however, regularly mock claims of fraud. The Brennan Center for Justice says voter fraud is a “myth.”

Groups such as Project Vote vigorously oppose election integrity protections, claiming the measures will prevent legal voters from casting ballots and make registering new voters more difficult.

But voter fraud is real and one reason it cannot be measured regularly is because liberal-leaning groups often fight mechanisms and procedures to track or prevent fraud, according to Logan Churchwell, communications director for True the Vote, an umbrella organization for voter-integrity watchdog groups.

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Churchwell said both Canada and Mexico require proof of identity when people vote. Mexico goes very far to ensure election integrity: Voters must prove citizenship, residency, and identity at registration. Then they must show identification when they vote.

But in the United States, voter ID laws are fought in court. And there are still cases of dead people “voting.”

In the city of Harrisonburg, Virginia, the FBI and local officials are investigating the registration of 20 people who had died.

Republican leaders, who often hear they are exaggerating such incidents, were quick to leap.

“Oftentimes we hear our Democrat colleagues suggest that voter fraud doesn’t exist in Virginia or is a myth,” said Virginia House Speaker William H. Howell, a Republican from Stafford, in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Well, it does indisputably exist.”

Not only does it exist, but committing fraud is easy, says Christian Adams, general counsel of the Public Interest Legal Foundation and a former Justice Department attorney.

Adams told LifeZette the few cases in Virginia were caught accidentally, with someone calling authorities when they saw a name they recognized as registered illegally.

“It was one instance,” said Adams. “The problem is bigger than one instance. The problem is systemic, and the system is failing.”

Adams, whose legal foundation regularly investigates voter fraud, says corrupt actors often register under phony names or under the names of dead people. When asked if there are more dead people ready to vote in swing states on Nov. 8, Adams said, “Of course there are. It’s easy to do.”

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Adams said election officials in cities and counties in each state address the problem passively, not aggressively. Voter registration officials also do not use or do not have access to tools to root out fraud.

And if they discover fraud, they simply take the names off the voter rolls. But they do not prosecute, Adams said.

Adams disclosed on Sunday that his foundation and Virginia Voters Alliance uncovered 1,046 cases of non-citizens registering in eight Virginia localities. About 200 voted. Before the phony voters were uncovered by election officials, most of the fraud occurred in the 2012 election. The second-highest instance of such fraud happened in 2008, the foundation reported.

Both times, President Obama won Virginia — a key swing state.

More prosecutions would help expose the problem, Adams said. But Adams noted that when Virginia election officials caught the non-citizens, no one was prosecuted. Non-citizens voting in Virginia could face felony charges.