Noncitizens Allowed To Vote In U.S. Elections?

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( – On Thursday, the House of Representatives made progress on a bill aimed at overturning a law in Washington, D.C., that grants noncitizens the right to participate in local elections. The bill received significant bipartisan support, with 52 Democrats siding with Republicans, culminating in a vote of 262 to 143.

The contested D.C. law was enacted by the city’s progressive council in 2022 and withstood a legal challenge earlier this year.

Republicans opposing the D.C. law expressed concerns about national security implications, arguing that it would be imprudent to allow non-U.S. citizens to influence local governance in the nation’s capital. During the bill’s debate, Representative Garret Graves (R-La.) highlighted the potential risks, stating that the law could enable foreign nationals, including those illegally in the country or those from adversarial nations like China and Russia, to participate in D.C. elections.

On the other hand, Democrats refuted claims that the law was a ploy to manipulate electoral outcomes by encouraging illegal immigrants to register to vote. Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) argued that there was no evidence to suggest that undocumented individuals were registering to vote. He explained that the practice targeted permanent residents who are integrating into the community and pursuing citizenship.

Representative August Pfluger (R-Texas), the sponsor of the bill, stressed the potential impact of noncitizen voting on close election outcomes. He emphasized that local elections, which often decide important issues such as taxation and criminal laws, could be swayed by even a small number of votes.

This legislative move is part of a broader effort by House Republicans to tighten voting security, which is gaining momentum as the November 2024 elections approach. Concurrently, a key House committee is set to advance legislation that would increase enforcement and penalties for undocumented individuals voting in federal elections.

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