Arcan Cetin, the suspect in the deadly Sept. 24 Cascade Mall shooting in Washington State, is facing prosecution for killing five people in just 60 seconds at a Macy’s store. Cetin used a Ruger rifle with a 25-round clip. He already had a criminal record going back two years and was charged in 2015 for assaulting his stepfather. After his arrest, he received a mental evaluation to determine his mental competence. Subsequently, he confessed to the crimes.
 
In addition, he may be facing additional investigation into his voting record and citizenship.
 
Cetin was born in Turkey and is not an American citizen, according to federal authorities cited by KING 5 News in Washington. This means that he cannot legally vote in the United States. However, records show that he registered to vote in 2014 and voted in three election cycles, including the May presidential primary.
 
The young Muslim man emigrated to the U.S. from his native Turkey as a minor and is permanent resident of the U.S. While permanent residents may apply for U.S. citizenship, KING’s sources say that Cetin’s status has not changed. 
 
 
In the State of Washington, voters can merely attest their American citizenship when registering online or registering to vote at an office of the Department of Licensing. State law in Washington does not require any proof of citizenship. It is thus that state officials contend that the voter registration process operates under an honor system rather than rigorous proof.
 
Secretary of State Kim Wyman said that an investigation is going forward in an effort to preserve public confidence in the integrity of elections, and due process for Cetina. In an interview with KING, Wyman 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." In Washington State, the penalty for voting as a non- U.S. citizen can result in five years of prison time or a $10,000, according to state law. 
 
Wyman added,  "The stakes are very high on both sides. You want to keep the confidence level high, but you also want to protect the voting rights of everyone." Wyman, however, does not believe that there is evidence for a larger issue but admitted that it may be addressed by the state legislature.
 
As for Cetin, he is being held on a $2 million bond and is being considered for the death penalty. He would get a minimum of twenty years in prison.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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