The Washington Post

Should non-citizens be allowed to vote?

(Jahi Chikwendiu/Washington Post) (Jahi Chikwendiu/Washington Post)

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants could soon be added to the voter rolls in New York City, if the City Council approves a proposal giving legal non-citizens the right to vote in local elections.

Six municipalities in Maryland (including Takoma Park) allow visa and green-card holders to vote. Chicago lets all residents vote on school board elections. An effort to allow non-citizen voting in Portland, Maine, failed three years ago. But the New York proposal would be a far more dramatic change; advocates estimate that 800,000 people would gain the right the vote.

Supporters argue that legal, tax-paying residents in the process of becoming citizens or who remain non-citizens for diplomatic reasons should be able to participate in the democratic process. They note that until the 1920s, many states allowed non-citizen voting. Opponents counter that the rights and responsibilities of citizenship are the foundation of our democracy and that the line between citizens and non-citizens should not be blurred.

What do you think? Should non-citizens be allowed to vote? 

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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