Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick, a lawful permanent resident, contends that when filling out the forms at the Department of Motor Vehicles she displayed her green card and her Peruvian passport—but she admits that she also checked a box claiming to be a citizen of the United States.  Fitzpatrick maintains that the desk clerk asked whether she wanted to register, and when she inquired “Am I supposed to?” he replied: “It’s up to you.” She checked that box, was duly registered, and in 2006 twice voted in elections for federal officials.

In light of these facts, the Seventh Circuit would not allow her to take advantage of the “official authorization" defense.  The defense is available to someone who makes complete and accurate representations to a public official and then receives permission from that official, when acting within the scope of his or her authority.  Because Fitzpatrick did not give accurate info to the DMV by virtue of claiming in writing to be a citizen, and because the clerk did not explicitly tell her it was permissible for her to vote, she could not take advantage of the defense.

The full text of Fitzpatrick v. Sessions can be found here: