Boston May Consider allowing Non-U.S. Citizens Right to Vote in City Council Elections

Published July 11th, 2018 - 01:00 GMT
Boston's City Council may allow non-U.S. citizens the right to participate in the local elections. (AFP/ file)
Boston's City Council may allow non-U.S. citizens the right to participate in the local elections. (AFP/ file)

Boston's City Council on Tuesday will consider giving non-U.S. citizens with legal immigration status the right to vote in city elections.

The proposal is being pushed by City Council President Andrea Campbell who said non-U.S. citizens living in Boston deserve the right to participate in local elections, in part because they account for 28 percent of the area's population, pay more than $100 in state and local taxes and generate more than $3.4 billion in spending, the Boston Herald reported.

"All members of a community should have the right to participate and be included in the governance of that community," Campbell's order states.

The order adds: "The purpose of our local government, including the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Advancement, is to strengthen the ability of diverse, cultural, and linguistic communities to play an active role in the economic, civic, social and cultural life of the City of Boston."

On Twitter, Campbell said the hearing on the proposal is "just a conversation, not a vote on an ordinance."

"I can no longer only go to rallies or send resolutions to Trump; what can we DO at the local level to support our immigrants? The discussion will include voting & OTHER possibilities," she wrote.

At various times throughout United States history, non-citizens have been allowed to vote in local elections. But since 1924, the practice has been stopped.

In recent years, however, there have been a handful of pushes to allow non-citizens the right to vote in local elections.

In 2016, San Francisco approved a measure to allow non-citizen parents of children enrolled in public schools the opportunity to vote in school board elections.

In May, the city issued a warning translated into 51 languages to inform non-citizens that, in order to vote, they would need to enroll on the Department of Elections website and their information could be obtained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the San Francisco Examiner reported.

The warning also says, "if you apply for naturalization, you will be asked whether you have ever registered or voted in a federal, state, or local election in the United States," which would give grounds for their application to be dismissed.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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