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Boston Considering Giving Non-Citizens Voting Rights
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Summary: Boston council members are discussing today whether or not to allow non-US citizens to vote in city elections.

Boston City Council wants its city to be more inclusive, so it is holding a hearing on Tuesday to discuss giving legal, non-US citizens the right to vote.

  
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“The controversial measure proposed during a meeting at Boston City Hall on June 19th would allow legal permanent residents, visa holders, and those on Temporary Protected Status and those in the DACA program the chance to vote,” The Washington Examiner stated.

Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell said that non-US citizens have paid $116 million in state and local taxes and have generated $3.4 billion in spending. Earlier this year, she had argued that illegal immigrants should be allowed to vote as well but she backtracked on her position after backlash.

“These residents that we’re aiming and talking about, are residents who lived in the city for some period of time, who send their kids to school, who run businesses and pay taxes, attend civic organizations,” Campbell said to the Boston Herald. “The goal is to have a conversation that will have many perspectives, including talking about the risk of doing something like this. … We cannot continue to hold rallies, or pass resolutions against President Trump — we need to do more.”

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Boston has over 190,000 foreign-born residents, and if Campbell’s proposal moves forward, it could set a trend for other cities. Right now, immigrants make up 28% of the city’s population.

Campbell’s latest proposal is sparking a debate, according to the Boston Herald. The initiative was supported by more than half of the councilors, including Josh Zakim, Ayanna Pressley, Michelle Wu, Lydia Edwards, Annissa Essaibi-George, Kim Janey and Ed Flynn.



“I got a lot of calls today from folks who are concerned we are watering down what it means to be a citizen of the United States and have the privilege to vote,” Councilor Michael Flaherty said.

Mayor Martin Walsh has not commented about his position of Campbell’s proposal.

Tuesday’s meeting is only intended to discuss the proposal and is not an official vote. “If in the future an ordinance is passed and signed by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, it still has to be approved by the state Legislature and signed by the governor. Massachusetts law requires voters be U.S. citizens,” The Boston Herald said.

What do you think of the possibility of legal non-US citizens be allowed to vote in Boston? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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