- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house has not voted
Committee on Oversight and ReformIntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2019
- house Committees
What is House Bill H.R. 151?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 151
In-Depth: Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to eliminate federal funding for any municipality that allows noncitizens to vote in local or statewide elections:
“Too many liberal, open border communities are beginning to grant noncitizens and illegal immigrants the sacred right to vote in local elections. Today, it’s local elections – next, it could be state or nationwide elections. These dangerous and egregious policies are allowing the voice of the American citizen to be watered down at the voting booth, and I believe we must fight to protect the integrity of our elections and the value of American citizenship.”
When he originally introduced this bill in the 115th Congress, Rep. Duncan said:
“Being an American citizen comes with great benefits and responsibilities, which includes voting in elections. The dangerous initiatives that have been popping up across the country that grant voting rights to illegal immigrants and noncitizens are very concerning. Allowing noncitizens to vote undermines the rights of American citizens and puts our democracy at risk. Municipalities that allow noncitizens to vote in their elections are more likely to adopt the types of radical sanctuary city policies that promote illegal activity, undermine law enforcement, and suppress the concerns of citizen voters. For generations, brave men and women have fought and died in order to protect the fundamental right of American citizens to participate in free and fair elections. Allowing noncitizens to water down the voice of American citizens at the voting booth disrespects their sacrifice and the value of American citizenship. Now more than ever, it is critical that we ensure only American citizens are casting ballots in this country. My bill to defund the localities that are adopting these policies is not only commonsense, but it is critical to retaining the integrity of the American democratic process.”
When Boston held meetings to consider the idea of allowing noncitizens to vote in July 2018, Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell, who supported extending local voting rights to non-citizens, argued that providing certain groups — including permanent legal residents, visa holders, Temporary Protected Status recipients, and Deferred Action Childhood Arrival recipients — with local voting rights could be a proactive way to empower local immigrant communities which are especially threatened by the current administration’s immigration policies and rhetoric:
“This is an opportunity for us to say, ‘No, we stand with you, we’re listening to you, and we want you to be a part of some of these conversations.”
In the 115th Congress, a resolution expressing the sense of the House that letting unauthorized immigrants vote diminishes the voting power of American citizens passed the House on a 279-72 vote which saw all but one Republican vote in favor with 49 Democrats, while another 69 Democrats voted present. When that resolution passed, Rep. Duncan praised it as a step in the right direction:
“As I have said time and time again, being an American citizen comes with great benefits and responsibilities, which includes voting in elections. For generations, brave men and women have fought and died in order to protect the fundamental right of American citizens to participate in free and fair elections. However, Democrats are pushing a far left agenda across the country by starting to allow noncitizens and illegal immigrants to vote in local elections. This is a very dangerous road to go down. We simply can’t allow noncitizens or illegal immigrants to water down the desires and vision of the American people. While this resolution is a critical starting point, we must do more to eliminate foreign interference in our elections. I will continue to push towards defunding municipalities and localities that allow noncitizens or illegal immigrants to vote in local or statewide elections. Let’s protect the voting booth. Let’s protect the rule of law. Let's protect American values. And let's always put America first.”
Of Note: In 2016, San Francisco voters passed a local measure allowing any parent or legal guardian of voting age — regardless of immigration status — to vote in school board elections. In July 2018, the San Francisco Department of Elections began issuing registration forms to non-citizens for this purpose. San Francisco’s decision was meant to reflect that a third of students in public schools in that state have parents or guardians who are in the U.S. illegally, and that those parents and guardians should also have a say in their children’s educations.
While the idea of allowing non-citizens to vote may sound outlandish, proponents of the idea point out that from America’s founding up until the 1920s, 40 states and federal territories allowed non-citizens to vote. At that time, non-citizens voted in local, state, and federal elections and were permitted to — and did — hold public offices such as alderman, coroner, and school board member. In fact, for most of U.S. history, voting by noncitizens was the norm, not the exception.
Since 1990, campaigns to expand the vote to non-citizens have been launched in states as diverse as New York, Massachusetts, Washington D.C., California, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Texas.
- Sponsoring Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) Press Release (115th Congress)
- Tennessee Star Op-Ed (In Favor)
- Conservative Review
- 1063 Radio
- Journal of International Migration and Integration (Context)
- Countable (Related Bill 115th Congress)
Summary by Lorelei Yang(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / adamkaz)