Should the right to vote be granted to non-citizens?

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“The 360” shows you various perspectives on the main stories and debates of the day.

What is happening

New York City became the largest city in the country when city council on Thursday approved a measure that would allow 800,000 legal residents to vote in local elections.

Beginning in January 2023, any New York resident with a green card or the legal right to work in the city will be eligible to vote in races for mayor, city council, and other city-wide offices. . They are still prohibited from voting in federal or state elections.

Non-citizen voting was prevalent in the United States in the years after the nation’s founding, although voting rights were extended only to white male landowners at the time. Over time, the practice was gradually canceled. In the mid-1920s, no state allowed non-citizens to vote. In 1996, Congress made it illegal for a non-citizen to vote in a federal election.

When this new law takes effect, New York will be by far the largest city to have non-citizen votes in all races citywide. Some large cities, such as San Francisco and Chicago, allow non-citizens to vote, but only in local school elections. Currently, only one in the United States – 11 in Maryland and two in Vermont – grants non-citizens full voting rights in local contests. allow non-citizens to vote in some, and in some cases all, elections.

Why there is debate

Defenders of non-citizen voting rights hope their victory in the country’s largest city will be a breakthrough that spurs a similar movement in cities across the country. They argue that it is immoral to deny people who work, raise families and pay taxes in a community the right to have a say in decisions that affect them as much as their neighbors.

Supporters also say that voting for non-citizens bring important issues that are not currently getting the attention they deserve to the center of political debate. These funders Also argue that American democracy will help them become “more interested and engaged” in the communities in which they live.

Critics say giving non-citizens the right to vote would dilute one of the basic things that makes being a U.S. citizen special. Many conservatives also argue that pushing for non-citizen suffrage is a cynical act. play by the Democrats to broaden their electoral base, because the party takes more pro-immigration positions than the Republicans.

And after

The action to come is at the local level. Several other municipalities – including cities in Illinois, Maine and Massachusetts – plan to vote for non-citizens in the near future. Conservative lawmakers have also launched an effort to prevent a potential expansion of non-citizen voting. , and all the voting measures adopted last year limiting voting to citizens only.

Perspectives

Supporters

It is unfair to deny people the floor in elections that have a major impact on their lives

“At first glance, voting for non-citizens is a matter of fundamental fairness. The people who live, work and pay taxes in our communities should have a say in how they are governed. – Tali Farhadian Weinstein,

Non-citizen voting will force candidates to consider a broader set of questions

“The communities of foreigners residing in the West are diverse. They include both destitute refugees and highly paid expatriates, construction workers and software engineers, taxi drivers and best-selling authors. The political agendas which they could defend, if they had a voice and a vote, would include a wide range of issues accordingly. “- Leonid Bershidsky,

Non-citizens will invest more in their communities

“Allowing people to vote makes them feel even more invested in their city, town, community and country. There is a detachment that comes from not being able to vote where we live. Concerns about mixed loyalties, meanwhile, are misplaced. “- Atossa Araxia Abrahamian,

Voting by non-citizens is an opportunity to counter infringements of voting rights

“Indeed, this celebration of democracy by expanding the franchise is even more important now, after a turbulent primary season and when reactionary forces in places like Georgia and Texas attempt to undermine this precious right. “- Murad Awawdeh,

Places that enact non-citizen voting have been shown to benefit

“You can move to Ireland and in six months you can vote in the national elections. And they saw, you know, a big turnout wisely. There are a number of studies that have shown how, when immigrants participate, there are increases and improvements in education policy and outcomes. – Ron Hayduk, Voting Rights Historian,

Adversaries

Voting rights of non-citizens would dilute the special bond citizens have with this country

“Voting in a modern democracy is linked to citizenship and the duties and rights associated with it, which is why the right to vote is generally limited to those who have established, by birth or by oath, a deep connection with the nation. Allowing the vote of non-citizens would devalue citizenship, a foundation of American life. “- Seth Barron,

Democrats try to broaden their electoral base to tip elections in their favor

The non-citizen vote is the latest push from progressives – along with criminal voting and mass amnesty – who fear they will not be able to win elections held only among law-abiding US citizens. “- Editorial,

One of the main arguments put forward by supporters is illogical

“The tax argument is not convincing. Non-residents with second homes or apartments in the city pay property taxes, and they certainly have an interest in public services like the police, fire department, and garbage collection. International students live in New York and can pay taxes of all kinds, or at least sales taxes on anything they buy. Does that mean they should vote in local races? The obvious answer is no. – Editorial,

Voting rights for non-citizens should start small

“The expansion of the franchise should be narrow. It should be reserved for school board elections and could be limited to lawful permanent residents with children in the system. Let’s try and see what happens. – Nicolas Goldberg,

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Photographic illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Getty Images

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