Law & the Courts

The Corner

Some Maryland Cities Think It’s Okay to Let Illegal Immigrants Vote

College Park, Md., has proposed giving illegal immigrants the right to vote in municipal elections. A recently drafted charter resolution would, if approved, remove U.S. citizenship as a requirement for voting in local elections. College Park would be the largest municipality in Maryland to adopt such a law; ten other towns and cities in Prince George and Montgomery Counties already allow illegal aliens to vote in local elections. The Baltimore Sun reports that the trend is picking up steam in liberal enclaves in the wake of Trump’s election.

According to the College Park resolution, “the Mayor and Council have determined that it is in the public interest to change the qualifications” for voting. They propose creating a “supplemental voter registration list for non-United States citizen voters” who meet the following criteria: at least 18 years of age; does not claim voting residence or the right to vote in another jurisdiction; is not a convicted felon currently serving prison time; is not under guardianship for mental disability; and has not been convicted for buying or selling votes. 

While illegal aliens would still be ineligible to vote in statewide and national elections, this opens the door to taking the next step and allowing people who have pledged no allegiance to the United States to vote for the president and members of Congress. Unsurprisingly, such measures are generally unpopular. According to a Rasmussen poll conducted last year regarding a proposal made by New York City to allow illegal immigrants to vote for mayor and city officials, “seventy-one percent (71%) of Likely U.S. Voters oppose letting illegal immigrants vote for local officials in the area where they live . . . 19% favor such a proposal, while 10% are undecided.” Additionally, “sixty-seven percent (67%) say illegal immigrants should not be allowed to vote even if they can prove that they live in this country and pay taxes. That’s up from 60% when Rasmussen Reports first asked this question in May of [2015]. Twenty-six percent (26%) still believe tax-paying illegal immigrants should be permitted to vote, down from 35%.”

This sentiment is understandable.Undocumented people broke American laws when they chose to ignore immigration policies and enter the United States without authorization to do so. People wait for years to come to this country legally and are awarded with the right to vote if they then go through the process of becoming citizens. We undermine the value of that when we give the ability to vote to anyone who wants it.

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