Hard as it is to believe, the mayor of Washington, D.C., might soon be elected with votes from illegal immigrants or the staff at the Chinese embassy. Last month the D.C. City Council passed a bill to expand the franchise in local elections to any adult with 30 days of residency. Mayor
- Advertisement -
did not sign or veto it, so the bill was officially enacted Monday without her signature.
A few jurisdictions have moved to let noncitizens vote in local races, but the D.C. plan stands out, given how it follows progressive ideas to a bizarre conclusion. New York City passed a noncitizen voting law that a court ruled this year was a violation of the state Constitution. But that proposal at least required noncitizen voters to have U.S. work authorization. No such limitation appears in the D.C. bill, meaning illegal aliens and foreign college students would be able to vote, and that’s not all.
“There’s nothing in this measure to prevent employees at embassies of governments that are openly hostile to the United States from casting ballots,” the Washington Post reported. A writer at the lefty New Republic agreed with that assessment: “A Russian diplomat could live their entire life in Moscow or St. Petersburg, take a job as a cultural attaché at Russia’s D.C. Embassy in August 2024, move into their new apartment that September, and cast a ballot in D.C.’s local elections that November.”
It reads like a bad parody of progressive decadence. Try to imagine American diplomatic personnel showing up to cast ballots for the mayor of Beijing or Moscow. Beyond that, the standard objections to noncitizen voting apply. It weakens the incentive to naturalize. Only U.S. citizens can vote in federal races, so including noncitizens in local races would force election officials to manage two voter lists and two sets of ballots. It’s begging for a fiasco.
These arguments didn’t persuade the D.C. City Council, which passed the bill 12-1 on first reading. Because the district is a federal enclave, acts of the council are subject to review by Congress, and the bill now goes to Capitol Hill. Lawmakers have 30 legislative days to object via a joint resolution.
have said they will seek to block the noncitizen voting proposal. Will Democrats stand in the way of that attempt? Let’s see the roll call.
Perhaps this is also a moment to think bigger. Georgia Secretary of State
has suggested “a constitutional amendment, a U.S. constitutional amendment, that only American citizens vote in our elections.” A 2024 presidential candidate who takes up that call might find a receptive public.
As for D.C., if the passage of this bill with little dissent reflects the rest of its governance, maybe Congress is overdue to consider some deeper reforms in how America’s capital city is run.
Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8