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Maryland city considers allowing non-citizens to vote

College Park, Maryland is considering a measure to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections

College Park, Maryland, a city of 30,000 people and home to the University of Maryland, is considering a measure that would allow illegal immigrants and other non-citizens to vote in local elections. If the measure passes, the city would join a number of other municipalities in the “Old Line State” that currently give illegal immigrants and foreign nationals the right to vote in local elections.

College Park City Councilwoman Christine Nagle, who is sponsoring the measure, said in an interview with the Baltimore Sun, “These are folks who have a significant stake in our community, and who rely on the facilities in our city. To me, it just made sense.”

Other council members disagree. College Park City Councilwoman Mary C. Cook said, “On a personal level, I do not agree that non-citizens should be voting”, but added she would listen to her constituents before making a decision.

Jeff Werner, speaking for the advocacy group “Help Save Maryland” told the newspaper that undocumented immigrants should not be allowed to go to the voting booth, adding, “What gives them that privilege?”

Non-citizen state voting is prohibited, but municipal voting is allowed in Maryland

According to the Maryland State Board of Elections, a person must be a U.S. citizen in order to vote in state elections. This requirement is codified within Maryland’s electoral laws:

§3–102.  (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, an individual may become registered to vote if the individual: (1) is a citizen of the United States;

Although Maryland’s constitution requires U.S. citizenship for state-level elections, municipalities governed by charters are permitted to hold local elections in which non-citizens may cast a vote.

As a result, a foreign nationals, including illegal immigrants, may vote in local municipal elections in Maryland.

A number of Maryland cities currently allow non-citizens to vote

Many municipalities in Maryland currently allow non-citizens to vote in local elections, including:

  • Barnesville (has allowed non-citizens to vote since 1918)
  • Somerset (approved non-citizen voting in 1976)
  • Takoma Park
  • Hyattsville (approved non-citizen voting in 2016)
  • Mount Rainier
  • Garrett Park
  • Glen Echo
  • Martin’s Additions

The College Park proposal, like those in the above cities, does not distinguish between legal permanent residents and undocumented immigrants.

2014 lawsuit revealed non-citizens were voting illegally in Maryland state and federal elections

In 2014, a lawyer in Fairfax County, Virginia, brought a lawsuit to U.S. District Court in Baltimore on behalf of four Maryland residents, alleging state and federal voter fraud by Maryland illegal immigrants as a result of lax local voting requirements.

The lawsuit argued that the votes of U.S. citizens were being cancelled by those of non-citizens. “Said actions allow plaintiffs’ lawful votes, cast as properly registered voters, to be diluted or canceled by votes cast by people unauthorized to vote under Maryland law.” The lawsuit asked the federal judge to order Frederick County and the State Board of Elections to take steps to prevent non-citizens from voting.

The request was denied and the lawsuit failed. However, as a result of the lawsuit, local voting records were made available to the litigants showing that illegal immigrants were, in fact, voting in state and federal elections.

How many non-citizens vote in Maryland? “We don’t know,” Shoemaker said. “No one keeps statistics on that.”

Maryland General Assembly the Voter Registration Integrity Act

As a result of this discovery, State Delegate Haven N. Shoemaker Jr., Carroll County Republican, introduced in the Maryland General Assembly the Voter Registration Integrity Act. The bill would require the jury commissioner and elections clerks to communicate with each other, provide lists of persons deemed ineligible for voting, cross-check voter rolls, and take steps to remove ineligible persons from those voter rolls.

How many non-citizens vote in Maryland? “We don’t know,” Shoemaker said. “No one keeps statistics on that.”

Maryland does not ask voters for ID at the polls.
One in seven Maryland residents are currently non-U.S. citizens.

2ANews is a media and news service, reporting on all issues impacting those freedoms enumerated within the United States constitution or its laws.

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