Cities weigh letting non-citizens vote – Huh? WTF?
According to this story (from FOXNews) there are several cities that are considering allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections. While their reasons may be noble, voting rights are, and should be, limited to American citizens. Furthermore, since many local elections are held during national elections, can we be certain that the proper mechanisms would be in place to prevent these local-only voters from casting votes in the national and state-wide elections?
Like his neighbors, Claude Rwaganje pays taxes on his income and taxes on his cars. His children have gone to Portland’s public schools. He’s interested in the workings of Maine’s largest city, which he has called home for 13 years.There’s one vital difference, though: Rwaganje isn’t a U.S. citizen and isn’t allowed to vote on those taxes or on school issues. That may soon change.
Portland residents will vote Nov. 2 on a proposal to give legal residents who are not U.S. citizens the right to vote in local elections, joining places like San Francisco and Chicago that have already loosened the rules or are considering it.
Noncitizens hold down jobs, pay taxes, own businesses, volunteer in the community and serve in the military, and it’s only fair they be allowed to vote, Rwaganje said.
“We have immigrants who are playing key roles in different issues of this country, but they don’t get the right to vote,” said Rwaganje, 40, who moved to the U.S. because of political strife in his native Congo and runs a nonprofit that offers financial advice to immigrants.
Whoa, whoa, whoa – just wait a bloody minute. This guy has been here 13 years and hasn’t made the effort to become a US citizen? I’ve got news for you, pal, voting is a privilege of US citizens. Just because you live here and work and pay taxes, you are not entitled to the full benefits of US citizenship. If you want to vote, become a citizen – it’s that simple.
To become a citizen, immigrants must be a lawful permanent resident for at least five years, pass tests on English and U.S. history and government, and swear allegiance to the United States.
Supporters of Portland’s ballot measure say the process is cumbersome, time-consuming and costly. The filing fee and fingerprinting costs alone are $675, and many immigrants spend hundreds of dollars more on English and civics classes and for a lawyer to help them through the process.
Sorry, but that doesn’t sound like such a huge effort to me. If you want to be just a tenant here, that’s fine but don’t expect the full rights and privileges afforded to those who have made the effort to become full citizens.
Abdirizak Daud, 40, moved to Minneapolis 18 years ago before coming to Portland in 2006. He hasn’t been able to find a job. Some of his nine children have attended Portland schools, and he’d like to have a say in who’s looking over the school system and the city, he said.
But between his limited English and the financial demands, Daud hasn’t been able to become a citizen.
“I like the Democrats. I want to vote for Democrats, but I don’t have citizenship,” he said.
Ah, I see now…