House Passes Bill Barring Non-US Citizens From Voting in Local DC Elections

Texas Rep. August Pfluger’s measure exemplifies the House GOP seeking to get involved in local D.C. affairs.

WASHINGTON—The House passed a bill on May 23 to prohibit non-U.S. citizens from voting in elections in the District of Columbia.

The final tally was 262–143, and 52 Democrats joined all Republicans in voting for it.

The measure, introduced by Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas), would repeal the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2022 that the D.C. Council passed, which allows non-U.S. citizen residents in the nation’s capital to vote in local D.C. elections, including for mayor, council members, the local attorney general, members of the State Board of Education, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, and ballot initiatives.

The District of Columbia is a federal entity, not a state. Congress has the final say over local affairs in the nation’s capital in that Congress can block measures passed by the D.C. Council within 60 days of passage.

Mr. Pfluger’s measure exemplifies the House GOP seeking to get involved in local D.C. affairs. Last week, the House passed a measure that would prohibit authorities from making changes to penalties for criminal offenses.

Last year, Congress blocked a measure by the city council that would have reduced mandatory minimums for some crimes, such as carjackings, in the nation’s capital. It also would have allowed juries to decide misdemeanor cases.

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Non-U.S. citizens are prohibited from voting in federal elections.

There is no indication it’s happening anywhere in significant numbers. Yet Republican lawmakers at the federal and state levels are throwing their energy behind the issue, introducing legislation and fall ballot measures. The activity ensures the issue will remain at the forefront of voters’ minds in the months ahead.

Republicans in Congress are pushing a bill called the SAVE (Safeguard American Voter Eligibility) Act, which would require proof of citizenship to register to vote.

Meanwhile, Republican legislatures in at least six states have placed noncitizen voting measures on the Nov. 5 ballot, while at least two more are debating whether to do so.

“American elections are for American citizens, and we intend to keep it that way,” said House Administration Committee Chairman Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) during a hearing he hosted on the topic last week.

“It appears the lesson Republicans learned from the fiasco that the former president caused in 2020 was not ‘Don’t steal an election’—it was just ‘Start earlier,’” said Rep. Joe Morelle (D-N.Y.), the committee’s ranking member. “The coup starts here. This is where it begins.”

There have been cases of noncitizens illegally registering and casting ballots over the years. But states have mechanisms to catch that. Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, recently found 137 suspected noncitizens on the state’s rolls—out of roughly 8 million voters—and he said he is taking action to confirm and remove them.

In 2022, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, conducted an audit of his state’s voter rolls, specifically looking for noncitizens. His office found that 1,634 had attempted to register to vote over a period of 25 years, but election officials had caught all the applications, and none had been able to register.

In North Carolina in 2016, an election audit found that 41 legal immigrants who had not yet become citizens cast ballots, out of 4.8 million total ballots cast. The votes didn’t make a difference in any of the state’s elections.

Democrats fear that adding more ID requirements could disenfranchise eligible voters who don’t have their birth certificates or Social Security cards on hand. Republicans counter that the extra step could provide another layer of security and boost voter confidence in an imperfect system in which noncitizen voters have slipped through in the past.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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