VOICES: If non-citizens can vote as citizens, you won’t have a country for long

Polling overwhelmingly shows that most Americans believe that only properly registered U.S. citizens should vote in U.S. elections. Federal law explicitly so provides for federal elections. But nothing in Ohio’s Constitution guarantees that non-citizens cannot vote in state or local elections. That — and nothing more — is what Issue 2 is all about: amending our Constitution to say that only properly registered citizens may vote in state and local elections.

ExploreVOICES: Allowing non-citizens to vote on local issues creates a more responsive government

Why should Ohioans vote yes on Issue 2, to join “blue” states like Colorado and Minnesota and “red” states like Arizona and Florida that have already made this change in their Constitutions? Because the progressive liberal minority is hell-bent on allowing non-citizens to vote. Laws on the books in New York City, San Francisco, 11 towns in Maryland, and at least two in Vermont allow non-citizens to vote locally. The Washington D.C City Council voted last month to allow even illegal aliens to vote locally, as long as they were in D.C for at least 30 days. Even here in Ohio, Yellow Springs changed its charter to allow non-citizens to vote, and the leading candidate for Cuyahoga County Executive was caught on tape last month saying he would support any local mayor who wanted to let non-citizens vote.

With 2-3 million illegal immigrants having entered our country in just the last two years, and with 11-20 million of them already here, it’s obvious that a major threat to democracy exists if voting rights are extended to non-citizens. To do so greatly cheapens the value of becoming a citizen in the first place, one of the best prizes of which is being allowed to vote. Allowing non-citizens to vote even in local elections would be particularly pernicious in Ohio, where municipal elections can raise income taxes on suburban workers who don’t live in the city imposing the tax.

ExploreDon’t be confused by ballot language; Here’s what state issues 1 and 2 mean

The Ohio Constitution currently grants “every” citizen the right to vote. Issue 2 would change “every” to “only” because the leftists argue that granting every citizen the right to vote does not prevent the state or its cities from further extending voting rights to non-citizens as well. Issue 2, when passed, will slam the door shut on these arguments by removing all doubt that voting rights may be exercised only by the citizens of Ohio. Issue 2 will foreclose “home rule” cities from allowing non-citizens (whether legal or illegal aliens) to vote. These folks can surely vote in their home countries, and don’t need to vote both here and there.

Let’s also consider the costly practical implications of allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections. Since federal law already bars them from voting in federal elections, our election administrators and poll workers would have to contend with two sets of ballots — one for federal candidates (citizens only) and one for state/local elections where non-citizens could also vote.

If you don’t have borders, you don’t have a country. If non-citizens could vote just the same as citizens, you won’t have a country for long. That’s why both candidates for Ohio Governor and a unanimous Ohio Senate support Issue 2, and why a large bipartisan majority of the Ohio House did too. Please join these bipartisan majorities in voting yes on State Issue 2!

William J. Seitz III is the state representative for the 30th District of the Ohio House of Representatives.

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