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Let foreigners vote in local elections?

August 08,2017 08:27

The Baltimore Sun reports that College Park is now considering allowing undocumented illegals to vote in local elections (“Amid immigration battles, College Park considers giving noncitizens voting rights,” Aug. 6). The right of foreigners to vote in ...and more »


The Baltimore Sun reports that College Park is now considering allowing undocumented illegals to vote in local elections (“Amid immigration battles, College Park considers giving noncitizens voting rights,” Aug. 6). The right of foreigners to vote in the United States has historically been a contentious issue. A foreigner, in this context, is an alien or a person who is not a U.S. citizen.
Since 1996, a federal law has prohibited non-citizens from voting in federal elections, punishing them by fines, imprisonment, inadmissibility and deportation. Exempt from punishment is any non-citizen who "reasonably believed at the time of voting … that he or she was a citizen of the United States," had a parent who is or was a citizen, and began permanently living in the United States before turning 16 years old. The federal law does not prohibit non-citizens from voting in state or local elections, but no state has allowed non-citizens to vote in state elections since Arkansas became the last state to outlaw non-citizen voting in 1926.
Eleven local governments, 10 of them in Maryland, allow non-citizens to vote in their local elections (Takoma Park, Barnesville, Martin's Additions, Somerset, Chevy Chase Sections 3 and 5, Glen Echo, Garrett Park, Hyattsville and Mount Rainer). San Francisco allows noncitizen parents to vote in school board elections (beginning in 2018).
Earl Wilson, Abingdon

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