Hmmm: Washington mall shooter a citizen after all?

Hold the phone on the voter-fraud meme, but only temporarily. The Turkish emigré who killed five people at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington last week turns out to have his citizenship after all. KING in Seattle originally found Arcan Cetin’s voting records and reported that he had voted fraudulently as a resident alien. Not so, says law enforcement:

KING 5 learned Thursday that Arcan Cetin, the 20-year-old who killed five people at Cascade Mall on Sept. 23, is in fact a U.S. citizen.

For days after the shooting, Cetin was described by local and federal law enforcement as being a permanent U.S. resident. He immigrated to the U.S. from Turkey when he was a child, after his mother married an American citizen.

On Thursday, a federal official told KING that further investigation revealed that Cetin is a naturalized U.S. citizen. That means he was legally registered to vote.

Oopsie. Yesterday, KING set the Internet world abuzz with its initial report, which their reporter blames on a source in the federal government. Today, we’ll all experience an Emily Litella moment and say, “Never mind!” now that KING has better sourcing.

That still doesn’t address the issues of certifying voters, however. Allahpundit raised good questions about voter registration yesterday, questions that have been around at least since “motor voter” regulation pushed by Bill Clinton twenty years ago. Voting (in federal elections, anyway) is a right afforded citizens, not resident aliens. Yet the state of Washington does nothing to ensure that registration applicants are citizens of the US, and it’s a good guess that no other states do either. Do we value citizenship as a commitment that stands as a prerequisite to voting, or do we just not care any longer? If it’s the former, then we need processes in place to enforce the law effectively starting at the registration process — and if it’s the latter, we need to change the law to reflect that.

The “never mind” in this case may be legit, but there will be plenty of other cases to use as examples. We should find them and extend the debate on voter fraud … but let’s hope that the media can get their facts straight first.