Non-Citizens Being Allowed to Vote in Some Areas
Posted by Joshua Price on November 9, 2007
There’s a not-so-surprising blog item today in The Houston Chronicle. It appears that many non-citizens in several cities across the country are being allowed to vote in local elections.
Voting is the most powerful tool in any democracy. Countless have died all over the world just for this basic right. It’s a great privelege that carries many conditions.
In the U.S., at least, you have to be 18. You generally can’t be a felon. (I know, we’re so picky here.)
And, probably most importantly, you have to be a U.S. citizen. Or do you really?
A small but growing movement is bubbling up to allow non-citizens the right to vote, according to a provacative story by Cox News Service. Takoma Park, Md., for example encourages non-citizens to vote. Officials there do not require proof of legal residence.
Here’s an excerpt from the story:
In a few other small cities in Maryland, all residents are allowed to participate in local elections, regardless of citizenship status. Chicago allows non-citizens to vote in school board elections and New York City is considering a proposal to give voting rights to legal immigrants. New York City allowed non-citizens to vote in school board elections for more than three decades, until 2003.
About a dozen other cities, including Portland, Maine, and Madison, Wis., are considering similar proposals, said Ron Hayduk, co-founder of the Immigrant Voting Project, a non-profit group that supports voting rights for non-citizens.
It’s not clear how many legal permanent residents — those with green cards — are actually voting. And experts say it doesn’t appear that many illegal immigrants are voting. As one person in the story said, they’ve got other things to worry about.
However, the Cox story points out that non-citizens voting is not all that unusual:
Non-citizens had the right to vote in the United States from 1776 to 1926, said Hayduk, who authored a book on the subject: “Democracy for All: Restoring Immigrant Voting Rights in the United States.”
Forty states and territories allowed non-citizens to vote in local, state, and even federal elections, and in many of those places, non-citizens were also allowed to run for office, he said.
The situation changed after World War I, when Americans were feeling a strong backlash against immigrants.
This is truly amazing. I could’ve sworn that you had to be a legal U.S. citizen in order to vote. This is another example of the rule of law being shoved aside with respect to immigration.
I understand that this will come as no surprise to most, but we have a deeply flawed immigration process–not just allowing illegals to cross over the border. Our whole system has got to be transformed, not tweaked or slightly altered here and there.