Report: Suspected Mall Gunman, a Non-Citizen, Voted in 3 Elections in Washington

By CNSNews.com Staff | September 29, 2016 | 9:42am EDT
Arcan Cetin is escorted into Skagit County District Court in Washington on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. Cetin is being held under a magistrate's warrant which will give Skagit County prosecutors 30 days to file charges in relation to the Cascade Mall shooting that took place on Friday evening. Five people were killed in the shooting, and Cetin is being held on a $2 million bail. (Brandy Shreve/Skagit Valley Herald via AP)

(Editor's note: KING-TV on Thursday night changed its story, saying that Arcan Cetin, the 20-year-old suspected of killing 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," the station said in its correction. "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.")

(CNSNews.com) - Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman told a Seattle television station on Wednesday that state law does not allow verification of a person's citizenship for voting purposes.

"Our hands are kind of tied, but make no mistake, we want to make sure that everybody has confidence that people casting ballots are eligible," Wyman told KING-TV.

She was responding to a KING-TV report that Arcan Cetin, the 20-year-old man suspected of shooting and killing five people at a shopping mall last Friday, has voted in three elections since 2014, including the presidential primary in May.

Cetin came to the U.S. from Turkey and is a permanent legal resident, but only U.S. citizens are allowed to vote.

In Washington, residents may register to vote online, by mail, or in person, and they are simply asked to declare that they are U.S. citizens at that time, the television station said.



"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," Wyman said. "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."

She said the investigation into Cetin's alleged illegal voting is "moving forward," and she said the penalites can be "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 said.

According to the Associated Press, Cetin has a criminal record dating back at least two years and was charged last year with assaulting his stepfather, who said his stepson suffered from mental illness.

He's accused of opening fire in a Macy's department store in Burlington, a city north of Seattle, killing three women and a teenage girl and critically injuring a man who died hours later.

According to KING-TV, a spokesman for the Secretary of State's office "was not aware of any cases" where non-citizen voters have had their registration revoked.

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