DC Council Moves To Let Illegal Immigrants Vote

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October 5, 2022

The Washington, D.C., city council on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow noncitizens, including illegal immigrants, to vote in city elections.

Under the bill, which passed 12-1, foreigners would be able to vote for local positions including the mayor and city council members. The bill will need to pass final approval from the city council next month, and then from Mayor Muriel Bowser (D.), in order to go into effect.

D.C.'s move toward noncitizen voting comes after New York City last year passed similar legislation to allow the city's 800,000 noncitizens to vote. That bill was overturned in June by a state court, which ruled it violated the New York Constitution.

Council Member Charles Allen, who cosponsored the bill, said it is part of the council's focus on "removing barriers to voting and lifting the voices of all district voters, particularly those in historically underrepresented communities."

If the legislation becomes law, noncitizens in D.C., of whom the Migration Policy Institute in 2019 estimated there are 44,000, will still not be able to vote in federal elections.