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The city council of Washington, D.C., voted 12-1 on Tuesday to advance a bill that would allow non-citizen residents to vote in future local elections.
The bill will move ahead to an upcoming final vote before being sent to Mayor Muriel Bowser (D).
“Our immigrant neighbors of all statuses participate, contribute and care about our community in our city. They, like all DC residents, deserve a right to have a say in their government,” D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen said during the Tuesday legislative meeting, according to The Hill.
“They raise families here, contribute to their community. They run businesses that people depend on, and they pay taxes that we decide how to spend. Yet they have no ability to elect local leaders who make decisions about their bodies, their businesses and their tax dollars,” Allen added.
The bill, if approved, would permit non-citizen residents in the District of Columbia to vote in local elections that include its mayor, attorney general, and school board members. The residency requirement was only 30 days for non-citizens, an important detail that led Councilmember Mary Cheh to oppose the bill.
The bill’s advancement comes as Washington faces a growing number of migrants bused into the area from Texas and Arizona. Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott has sent more than 8,100 migrants to the nation’s capital as of last week, according to a statement from his office.
Arizona has reportedly sent nearly 2,000 migrants to Washington over the past four months, according to KTVK-TV. The cost for each busload was noted as $82,146 per trip.
The D.C. non-citizen voting bill comes as a growing number of locations across the U.S. seek to add non-citizens to their lists of registered voters. So far, similar initiatives have faced strong legal challenges in the courts.
In San Francisco, an August ruling struck down a city ordinance allowing non-citizens to vote in school board elections. As The Daily Wire previously reported, it was approved in 2016. The law was challenged by various groups, including the California Public Policy Foundation and the United States Justice Foundation.
“The State of California has a long-standing requirement that voters must be United States citizens,” the plaintiffs argued. “This requirement applies to every election in the state, even those conducted by charter cities, because determining voter qualifications is a matter of statewide concern where state law supersedes conflicting charter city ordinances.”
A similar law in New York City proposed to permit up to 800,000 non-citizens to vote in city elections. The law was struck down by the state’s Supreme Court in June.
“The New York State Constitution expressly states that citizens meeting the age and residency requirements are entitled to register and vote in elections,” Justice Ralph Porzio wrote in his ruling. “There is no statutory ability for the City of New York to issue inconsistent laws permitting noncitizens to vote and exceed the authority granted to it by the New York State Constitution.”