Noncitizen Voting


In the past few years, there has been a growing movement to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. Many of the largest cities in the United States, such as New York City have recently passed legislation allowing non-citizens to vote. Although many starkly oppose the idea of non-citizen voting, I believe it is imperative for US permanent residents to be allowed to vote in local elections.

While permanent residents are not citizens, they still play a vital role in many communities across our nation, and many local initiatives and measures affect their daily lives. Many permanent residents’ children go to public schools, visit public libraries, and utilize community resources. By not being able to vote in school board elections, city council races, local initiatives, referendums and electing the mayor silences the voices of many community members, and denies non-citizens the right to improve their communities. By allowing permanent residents to vote in these elections, we would be able to empower many to fight for a change in their community.

For many Americans, the term “Taxation with representation” is synonymous with voting suffrage and played a vital role in the American Revolution and the framework of our constitution. Permanent residents pay taxes to their local municipalities and communities and deserve the right to vote for what they think is the best for their community and voice their opinions, which is a necessity in democracies.

Furthermore, the concept of non-citizen voting is not new and has seen success in countries such as Canada, Sweden and New Zealand. These countries showcase that allowing permanent residents to vote is a step in the right direction, and a step to a truer democracy, where everyone’s voice and vote counts. By following in their footsteps, the United States can ensure a more inclusive and representative government.

However, many critics argue that being able to vote is an action that should be reserved for citizens, as they have taken an oath of allegiance to the United States. Although this is a valid opinion, it overlooks the fact that many permanent residents have stakes and roots in local communities, and allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections does not grant them the right to vote in state or federal elections. Additionally, allowing non-citizens to vote sets the framework for being a citizen, and teaches and promotes the morals of the United States.

All in all, allowing permanent residents to vote in local elections will be a step in the right direction for local communities and democracies. Permanent residents have stakes in local communities and their voices deserve to be heard through voting, as it affects their everyday lives. Therefore, I believe that local communities should fully support non-citizen voting and embrace this idea to make it a reality across the nation.