Maine City to Vote on Non-Citizen Voting Proposal
On November 2nd in Portland, Maine, residents will vote on a proposal that could give legal residents who are not citizens the right to vote in local elections. Right now, legal residents who are not yet U.S. citizens are paying taxes, and have their children going to public schools are not allowed to vote in the very cities they pay taxes in.
Chicago, Maryland, San Francisco and New York have already taken or plan to take measures to allow legal residents to vote in certain elections. In Chicago and in municipal elections in half a dozen towns in Maryland, noncitizens are allowed to vote in school board elections.
On November 2nd in San Francisco, a ballot question will ask voters to vote on allowing noncitizens to vote in school board elections if they are the parents, legal guardians or caregivers of children in the school system.
Will Everitt of the Maine League of Young Voters states, ‘They’re sending their kids to our schools, and they should be able to have a right to vote for…the school committee.’ ‘Legal immigrants are an important part of our community,’ Everitt says. ‘They contribute a lot.’
Opponents of the bill believe ‘handing out instantaneous voting rights,’ is implying that immigrants have no reason to become citizens. So it will ultimately do little to make them a part of the community.
‘I think this is all about democracy,’ says Everitt. ‘This is about diversity and I think diversity equals democracy.’