Several national grassroots organizations on Monday joined Americans for Citizen Voting to voice our opposition to a new law (Local Resident Voting Rights Act) that allows non-citizens to vote in D.C.’s elections. The change in law, unfortunately, went into effect the next day. The purpose of our press conference was to put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to bring up for a vote SJR 5 and SJR 6 which bans non-citizen voting in The District.
I was joined by Election Transparency Initiative‘s National Chairman Ken Cuccinelli, J. Hogan Gidley, Vice Chair, Center for Election Integrity at America First Policy Institute, and Christian Adams, President & General Counsel at the Public Interest Legal Foundation.
This new law allows non-citizens in the nation’s capital to vote in local elections – whether they are residing in the District legally or illegally. The only requirement is they have to establish residency at least 30 days before the election. To add insult to injury, the law also allows foreign nationals working at the Chinese and Russian embassies and those of other foreign nations to vote in local elections.
A resolution (H.J. Res. 24) to block D.C.’s non-citizen voting ordinance overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House in February and in true bipartisan fashion, with 42 Democrats joining every Republican. However, Senate Democrats have refused to bring H.J. Res. 24 to a vote in the Senate.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz authored a bill in January that would prohibit the Washington, D.C. city government from using federal funds to facilitate non-citizen voting in elections in our nation’s capital. Cruz was unable to attend the press conference but did provide the following statement:
“Allowing non-citizens to vote is a direct assault on what it means to be an American citizen and it is a brazen attack on the rule of law. Not only does it violate the principles our nation was founded upon, but also invites foreign meddling in our elections. Voting is a privilege and responsibility for American citizens and I will not stop fighting to defend the rights of American citizens to vote.”
Even the Washington Post Editorial Board, in an editorial titled, “D.C. is Considering Legislation to Let Non-citizens Vote. That’s a Bad Idea” wrote:
“Voting is a foundational right of citizenship. That’s why we oppose a bill, poised to pass the D.C. Council this week, that would allow an estimated 50,000 noncitizen residents to cast ballots in local elections.
Here are a few quotes from the press conference. Below is a video of the press conference at The National Press Club.
“It is amazing to me that the [D.C. City Council] will zero in on criminals but ignore, not only illegal aliens and non-citizens, but literally the employees of our enemy nations – Russia, China, etc – who can now vote.” –Ken Cuccinelli
“So many people work so hard for so long and faithfully follow the law because the prospect of citizenship is precious and it is priceless.” – Hogan Gidley
“This is a civil rights issue. It’s a civil rights issue because the rights of non-citizens to vote has the effect of hurting the civil rights of African Americans.” – Christian Adams
A national poll conducted last weekend by RMG Research shows that 75% of Americans oppose letting non-citizens vote in local elections. 69% favor Congressional action to stop non-citizens from voting in our nation’s capital.
We must oppose at all levels of government non-citizens voting in our elections – at all levels. Granting voting rights to non-citizens dilutes the importance of citizenship and weakens the fabric of our constitutional republic.
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