A bill that would let noncitizens vote in District elections received the approval of the D.C. Council’s Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary on Tuesday.
The bill was written and introduced by D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who chairs the committee. If it is passed by the council, the bill would allow undocumented immigrants and green card holders the ability to vote for positions such as mayor, attorney general, and council member.
“This committee has focused on removing barriers to voting and lifting the voices of all District voters, particularly those in historically under-represented communities,” Allen said, WTOP reported. “Noncitizens will be able to vote in local elections only. We cannot change federal law, which continues to prohibit noncitizens from voting in federal elections.”
Other D.C.-area jurisdictions that allow noncitizen voting include Hyattsville and Mount Rainier in Prince George’s County, Md., and Takoma Park in Montgomery County, Md.
In support of his bill, Allen cited research showing that one in seven District residents is an immigrant.
“Immigrants support our economy, they start businesses and they pay taxes,” the council member said.