Top Democrat’s Support for Non-Citizen Voting Emerges Ahead of House Vote

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Top Democrat’s Support for Non-Citizen Voting Emerges Ahead of House Vote

A top Democrat congressman’s long-help support for non-citizen voting has been revealed as the House prepares to vote on the issue.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) the House Oversight Committee’s ranking member and a former Trump “impeachment manager,” previously advocated for non-citizen participation in the U.S. election system.

Raskin argues that the framers of the U.S. Constitution did not “intend” for a citizenship requirement to vote..

It comes as the House gears up to vote on a bill that would repeal a Washington D.C. law to grant non-citizen residents of the city the right to vote in local elections.

The bill advanced through the House Oversight Committee in a 23-19 vote last summer.

It is expected for a House floor vote on Thursday afternoon.

Raskin is among several Democrats who opposed the bill.

In 1993, Raskin authored a paper for the American University Washington College of Law titled: “Legal Aliens, Local Citizens: The Historical Constitutional and Theoretical Meanings of Alien Suffrage.”

“In this Article, I will argue that the current blanket exclusion of non-citizens from the ballot is neither constitutionally required nor historically normal,” Raskin wrote.

“Moreover, the disenfranchisement of aliens at the local level is vulnerable to deep theoretical objections since resident aliens — who are governed, taxed, and often drafted just like citizens — have a strong democratic claim to being considered members, indeed citizens, of their local communities.”

In another section of the paper, Raskin noted that the Founding Fathers considered citizenship terms for officeholders in the White House and Congress but did not include the same for voters.

“It can be safely concluded from the juxtaposition of the Framers’ specific and varying constitutional conditions for federal office-holding and their complete silence as to a citizenship qualification for federal voting that they did not intend to create a U.S. citizenship suffrage qualification,” he wrote.

On the specific amendments that attach the word “citizen” when describing voting rights, Raskin wrote:

“If such language is not designed to exclude aliens from voting, perhaps it discloses a general understanding that voting is for citizens only.

“But this reading is badly strained: the language specifies only that states may not exclude any citizen from the franchise on the basis of race, not that the states may not include non-citizens in the franchise.”

He also argued that giving non-citizens the right to vote would have no bearing on their own naturalization process.

“The simple right to vote in local elections, or even state and federal elections, neither confers U.S. citizenship for federal purposes nor immunizes aliens against the operation of any provision of immigration or naturalization law,” Raskin wrote.

In a Thursday morning statement, Raskin said he still stands by his belief in non-citizens voting in local elections but pointed out that it’s illegal on the federal level.

“I stand by my academic conclusion that the Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that there’s nothing in the Constitution that prohibits non-citizens from voting in local elections,” Raskin said.

“As a matter of public policy, localities have every reason to decide for themselves.

“Most states have allowed non-citizen voting at some point in their history and any attempt to demonize local non-citizen voting today is strange for Republicans given that they strongly supported this practice in the 19th century.

“Non-citizen voting in federal elections is against the law and not at issue in tomorrow’s vote.”

The city of Takoma Park, which Raskin represents, shared a press release in October celebrating “30 years of non-citizen voting” in local elections.

The House’s D.C. non-citizens voting bill was introduced by Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX).

Under a provision known as home rule, Congress is afforded the ability to block laws passed by the D.C. council.

Even if passed, however, it’s highly unlikely that the Democrat-controlled Senate takes it up.