Republicans take the lead to ban noncitizen voting in local elections | US News

L.Wisiana voters recently approved a constitutional amendment banning non-U.S. citizens from participating in elections, opposing a growing number of progressive cities that decide to allow noncitizens to vote in local elections. It became the eighth state.

Noncitizens are prohibited from voting in federal elections, No state allows noncitizens to vote for statewide offices, and vague language in the constitution requires local governments to pass laws legalizing noncitizen voting in local or school board elections. is ready. His two cities in Vermont, nearly a dozen cities in Maryland, San Francisco.

Other cities are also trying to join the list, such as Boston and Washington, DC. The latter city council he passed a bill in October that would allow noncitizens who have lived in the city for at least 30 days to vote in local elections. New York The city council also passed a bill in December allowing nearly 900,000 green card holders and people with work permits to vote in local elections, but the state’s trial court ruled in June that the state’s constitution found to have violated and annulled it. This ruling is currently on appeal.

The potential for major cities such as DC and New York to expand their electorate sparked backlash from Republican lawmakers.

Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said, “This vote sends a clear message that the radical electoral policies of places like San Francisco, New York City and Washington, D.C. do not exist in Louisiana.” rice field. The constitutional amendment, he said, would “ensure the continued integrity of Louisiana’s elections.”

Because Louisiana law already prohibits people “not citizens of the state” from voting, voting rights advocates believe the new amendment would republican A state that restricts voting based on false claims that noncitizens are committing voter fraud by participating in elections.

The Louisiana amendment was put to a vote on December 10 after passing both houses of the state legislature. More than 73% of her voters in Louisiana approved it, making Louisiana the latest state in a series of states to attempt to write the prohibition explicitly into its constitution.

Before 2020, just Arizona North Dakota and North Dakota explicitly prohibited noncitizens from voting in local and state elections, but voters in Alabama, Colorado, and Florida all approved constitutional amendments in 2020. , Ohio approved one in November.

The Ohio amendment comes after one town in the state, Yellow Springs, passed an initiative to allow noncitizens to vote in 2019, giving just a few dozen people in small towns the vote in local elections. Done. Years later, in 2022, Republican lawmakers proposed what would eventually become a constitutional amendment to ban the practice and rescind the rights from Yellow Springs noncitizens.

Fulvia Vargas de Leon, senior councilor of Latino Justice PRLDEF, a New York-based immigrant rights group, said the ballot modification move is just one way some lawmakers are trying to limit their voting rights. I said no.

“This is a response to expanding voting rights, and our concern is that we have seen such attacks on voting rights since 2020,” she said, noting that the pushback for anti-immigrant It’s coming, he added. The sentiment “but is also making a bigger effort to ban anyone with access to the vote.”

The United States allowed noncitizens to vote much of its early history. From its founding until 1926, noncitizens could vote in local, state, and federal elections. However, anti-immigrant sentiment has pushed legislators in most states to end the practice.

Alan H. Kennedy, professor of William and Mary, wrote in an article published in this year’s Journal of Policy History that “resurgent nativism, wartime xenophobia and concerns about corruption have forced lawmakers to “Citizenship became a prerequisite for voting in every state by 1926.” .

In 1996, Congress passed a law prohibiting noncitizens from voting in federal elections, making illegal voting subject to fines, imprisonment, and deportation.

At the local level, however, the issue has become a hot topic again in recent decades, as many cities have a growing population of immigrants without permanent residency.

Advocates of non-citizens argue that documented immigrants pay taxes, contribute to their communities, and their voices should be heard when it comes to local policies.

“We must have a representative democracy, where everyone who is part of the fabric of the community, who is involved, who pays their taxes, should have a say,” said the group. said Vargas de Leon, who intervened in the New York lawsuit. and appealed.

But conservative groups say that allowing noncitizens to vote would dilute citizen votes. Republican strategist Christopher Arps initiated the Missouri-based Americans for the Referendum to help the state amend its constitution to explicitly state that only U.S. citizens can vote. did. He said those who want to vote must “at least be in the game” by completing the citizenship process.

“We’ve been hearing about foreign interference, Russia and other countries for the last five or six years,” he said.

And having states maintain separate voter rolls for federal and local elections is a “bureaucratic nightmare” that could lead to illegal voting if noncitizens vote incorrectly in federal elections. he said there is

Noncitizen voting has not yet been signed into law in DC, but Republicans in Congress have already introduced legislation to prevent it. One of his bills, which Texas Senator Ted Cruz introduced last month, would ban DC from using federal funds to facilitate noncitizen votes.

“By allowing noncitizens and illegal immigrants to vote in elections, the country becomes more susceptible to foreign influence, people who openly violate U.S. laws, and people who work for hostile foreign governments. People who are in a position can use and direct our resources against our will.

But Vargas-De Leon pointed to the benefits of expanding the electorate to include the country’s 12.9 million legal permanent residents and other documented immigrants.

“All we’re trying to do here is let everyone have a say in our government,” she said.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/dec/22/republicans-noncitizen-voting-ban-local-elections Republicans take the lead to ban noncitizen voting in local elections | US News

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