Majority of House Dems Vote in Favor of Non-Citizen Voting in DC

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May 23, 2024

Nearly three-quarters of House Democrats voted on Thursday against repealing a Washington, D.C., law that allowed non-citizens to vote in local elections.

The House passed legislation on Thursday to repeal the non-citizen voting law, with 143 Democrats opposed, 52 in favor, and 18 abstaining.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of House Republicans voted in favor of "prohibit[ing] individuals who are not citizens of the United States from voting in elections in the District of Columbia." No Republican voted against the repeal, and only 7 out of the total 217 Republicans chose not to vote.

The repeal is unlikely to go into effect, as it would require approval in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The district’s non-citizen voting bill was passed 12-1 by the city council in October 2022 and went into effect in March 2023. The law allowed more than 40,000 non-citizens to vote in local elections, according to an estimate at the time from the Center for Immigration Studies.

Councilmember Charles Allen, the bill’s cosponsor, said the council wanted to focus on "removing barriers to voting and lifting the voices of all district voters, particularly those in historically underrepresented communities."

The Immigration Reform Law Institute sued the D.C. government over the law, calling the policy a "direct attack on American self-government" that would let Russian and Chinese diplomats cast ballots in the district.

"This law doesn’t just give foreign citizens a voice in our country’s affairs, it gives them voting power that politicians inevitably will have to respond to," said Christopher Hajec, IRLI’s director of litigation. "That transfer of power flies in the face of the clear right of the American people to govern themselves."