The president of the Boston City Council, Andrea Campbell has said that she has begun looking into the possibility of allowing non-citizens to vote in Boston’s municipal elections. She said she plans to call a hearing of the Council on the subject, which she says will not only seek to allow non-citizens here legally to vote. This includes green card holders, but it also floats the idea of giving the vote to non-citizens in the country illegally or ‘undocumented immigrants’.
In a story that appeared in the Boston Herald last Tuesday written by Dan Atkinson, Campbell stated the following: “I want to have a conversation about non-citizens being able to fully take part and come out of the shadows to do so. They generate millions in taxes. Undocumented, DACA, legal permanent, Green Card holders, we should be open minded and keep it open as to how they could participate”.
The proposed hearing will focus on legal non-citizens getting the vote, but she wants to also explore the idea of allowing illegals to vote as well.
Federal law prohibits non-citizens from voting in federal or national elections. But as the Herald story pointed out, there are a few states, which do not have laws banning non- citizens from voting in local contests. However, Massachusetts isn’t one of them. There have been attempts by other Massachusetts towns such as Amherst and Cambridge to allow what Council President Campbell is suggesting but have so far been unsuccessful because the Massachusetts Constitution clearly states that non-citizen cannot vote – period.
Vocal opposition to Campbell’s proposal has started already. Jessica Vaughn, director of policy for the Center of Immigration Studies stated the following: “This is an insult to citizens. It’s beyond me how anyone could argue that the government in Boston should be inviting people here in violation of our laws to participate in civic life and especially reward them with the ability to vote….” Vaughn went on to say “It’s a deliberate attempt to blur the difference between citizens and legal immigrants and illegal immigrants. The possibility of including people here illegally is going to be seen as even more outrageous. It’s devaluing citizenship.”
As of this writing, no final plans or tentative date for a hearing on the matter has been set. If and when a hearing is schedule, South Boston Today will do a follow-up story and keep our readers informed of the proceedings.