Noncitizen Voting is a Real Threat to Democracy  


October 27, 2022

By Brian Lonergan

With a critical midterm election less than two weeks away, America is still awash in rhetoric about voter suppression, election integrity and threats to democracy. While those are serious issues, they have been used far too often lately by left-wing partisans as attack lines against opponents and to distract from their own political failures. Lost in the political spin and 24-hour cable news programming is a very real and underreported threat to our democracy: allowing noncitizens to vote in American elections.

Noncitizen voting has become a priority agenda item for the anti-borders Left, right up there with blocking wall construction, advocating sanctuary laws, and counting noncitizens in the U.S. census.

The motivation should be obvious by now. A large pool of noncitizens, most of whom have no understanding of America’s founding principles, can be easily swayed to vote a certain way in critical races. At that point, the floodgates can be opened for a slew of radical laws that most Americans would not support.

Federal law prohibits noncitizens from voting in federal elections, but there is no such restriction for state or local elections. The activists have sought to exploit this gap as a first step to normalize noncitizen voting.

The effort to push through illegal alien voting is already underway and is yielding results in deep-blue jurisdictions. Towns in Vermont, California and Maryland currently allow noncitizen voting in local elections. The New York City Council had passed a law giving the right to vote in city elections to alien residents of the city who are permitted to work in the United States. A state court later struck down the law in June of this year.

The latest effort is taking place in our nation’s capital. The D.C. Council passed a measure this month that would only require someone to live in the city for 30 days before registering to vote. The measure still requires a review by Congress and a signature from Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Where is the incentive to pursue legal U.S. citizenship when short-sighted, agenda-driven politicians here decide to award those benefits to anyone able to cross the border?

Councilwoman Mary Cheh, who favors noncitizen voting, was accused of xenophobia and racism by activists for asking a simple but salient question about the 30-day requirement.

“I find it unacceptable to say that somebody who has had no connection at all with the United States, with its culture, its democracy, can be dropped off here, reside for 30 days, and vote in a local election,” she said. “What is wrong with asking they stay a little bit longer?”

Even among its allies, the anti-borders Left demands total conformity to its agenda with no questions asked. Still, Cheh’s question deserves an answer. Under the bill’s language, the illegal aliens Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent by bus to D.C. in July would be eligible to vote in the city’s next election.

In jurisdictions where noncitizen voting is not permitted, election workers need to be vigilant for illegal voters. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) recently arrested an illegal alien from Jamaica after he allegedly cast two votes under aliases in Broward County special elections.

Alfred Nelson used a fake birth certificate from New York to register. He has been convicted of 11 felonies, including convictions for trafficking in cocaine, multiple felony weapons charges and even for physically assaulting a police officer. How many more Alfred Nelsons are out there affecting the results of our elections?  

The issue of noncitizen voting should not be reduced to, as anti-borders activists would prefer, the claim that it is mean and racist to deny any benefit to people because they are here illegally. American citizenship is a highly-valued designation that most people on the planet would want. Conferring privileges of citizenship to those who have not met the requirements of the status is to render the status meaningless. Where is the incentive to pursue legal U.S. citizenship when short-sighted, agenda-driven politicians here decide to award those benefits to anyone able to cross the border?

At a time when those same politicians warn us about myriad threats to “Our DemocracyTM,” few things are bigger threats to our democracy than noncitizen voting. One of the cornerstones of our republic is the belief that our elections are legitimate and that those elections are decided by the votes of U.S. citizens. Permitting noncitizens to vote dilutes the power of citizens’ votes. It allows our leaders to be decided by those with little to no understanding of our unique commitments to personal liberties and protections against government overreach.

Watch this season’s political campaigns and listen to candidates extol the virtues of legitimate elections and the preservation of our democracy. Unless they commit to oppose noncitizen voting, it’s just more meaningless double-talk.

Brian Lonergan is director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a public interest law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of mass migration.

Also published at American Greatness, October 26, 2022.

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