A Washington, DC City Council committee has just introduced a bill to give non-U.S. citizens the right to vote.
The measure was approved by a vote of 12 to 1 on October 4. by the Justice and Public Safety Commission.
The Local Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2021 (B24-0300) amends the law of 1955 to allow non-citizen permanent residents to vote in local elections.
The bill would allow noncitizens to vote in elections for mayor, city council, attorney general, state board of education, or commissioner.
If the bill is passed, noncitizens will also be able to vote for “district ballot initiatives, referendums, recalls, or charter referendums.”
The only council member to vote against it was Mary Che.
“The bill is very supportable, except for one aspect,” she said, according to The Hill. “And I asked the entire committee this question: Is there anyone who took a bus from Texas, or was picked up by a bus from Texas or anywhere, dropped off on the Vice President’s property, and then remained in the district? ?If a person has been in Colombia for 30 days and is 18 years old, can the person vote in local elections? And the answer was yes.”
Hill reported that she voted against a bill calling for a “residence threshold longer than the 30-day benchmark.”
After members of the committee introduced the bill, the entire city council issued a report recommending that the law be approved, in part citing “racial equality.”
“B24-0300 is the next step in expanding the franchise. The bill’s purpose is to extend voting rights in local elections to district residents who are not U.S. citizens and to otherwise eligible residents. ‘, the lawmaker wrote in the report.
They also explained that the bill introduced only extended voting rights to local permanent residents. and not to discriminate between arbitrary immigration statuses.”
The Commission has attached a “Race Equality Impact Assessment” from the Council on Racial Equality Office (CORE) that was a factor in the decision to approve the new law.
“Bill 24-0300 is likely to improve political representation and civic participation of noncitizens of color who meet voter eligibility criteria for local elections in their precincts,” the assessment said. “CORE is not aware of any data that explicitly collects the racial and ethnic identities of noncitizen residents within the District, but many noncitizen residents are Black, Indigenous, Latino, Asian, We recognize that we may identify as a lineage, or another identity of color.”