On Tuesday, the D.C. City Council voted 12-1 to advance a bill that will allow foreign nationals, regardless of if they have visas or are illegally in the United States, to vote in local elections such as school board races and mayoral elections.
“Our immigrant neighbors of all statuses participate, contribute and care about our community in our city,” D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen (D) said, according to the Hill. “They, like all DC residents, deserve a right to have a say in their government.”
Only Councilwoman Mary Cheh (D) voted against the bill, suggesting she would have supported it had provisions included a minor 30-day residency requirement for foreign nationals looking to register to vote.
“I asked this question of the committee as a whole: Could someone who took the bus from Texas, or was put on the bus from Texas, or wherever, and dropped off at the vice president’s property, and then remained in the District of Columbia for 30 days and was 18 years old — could that person then vote in our local elections? And the answer was yes,” Cheh said.
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The D.C. City Council will now have to approve the plan in a final vote before the bill goes to Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser for approval.
In June, the New York State Supreme Court struck down a similar law passed by the New York City Council that sought to allow nearly a million foreign nationals the ability to vote in municipal elections.