The Senate Should Join the House in Blocking D.C.'s Noncitizen Voting Law

Last week, the U.S. House voted to block a measure passed by the D.C. Council last fall that would allow noncitizens to vote:

The first resolution took aim at D.C.’s Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act, which allows noncitizen residents to vote in local elections. The D.C. Council approved the measure in October.

But on Thursday, the House voted to disapprove the bill in a 260-162 vote. Despite Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) urging members of her caucus to vote “no,” 42 Democrats joined with their Republicans colleagues in support.

Now, it's up to the Senate to pass the resolution and send it to the President's desk for approval. Senators Katie Britt and Tom Cotton are urging their colleagues to take up the issue:

Britt accused D.C. and other Democrat-run municipalities of "diluting the value of American citizenship" with the push to allow illegal immigrants to vote, and added that it was "effectively disenfranchising hardworking American citizens, insulting those American citizens who came to our country legally and took the time and effort to go through the citizenship process, and undermining faith in our entire electoral system."

"D.C. would even allow official representatives of the Chinese Communist Party and other foreign adversaries to vote in local elections in our nation’s capital, when their stated interests run counter to America’s interests. This is a dangerous, illogical policy that Congress has a duty to block," she said. . .

Cotton echoed Britt's sentiment and called on Senate Democrats to join them in supporting S.R. 5, the Senate version of the joint resolution passed by the House.

"The Washington, D.C., Council is insulting every voter in America by putting forward this bill. There should be a bipartisan denouncement of this insane policy," he said.

Opponents to the resolution (including the White House) argue that blocking the noncitizen voting law is problematic because D.C. has the right to govern itself—as a state and otherwise.

This D.C. statehood/home rule argument is a distraction from the real issue at hand that noncitizen voting is a danger to the American system. As we pointed out last year, this bill is even more radical than a New York City law that has already been struck down by a federal court.

Congress hasn't overturned a D.C. law in thirty years. D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb argues that this shows why blocking the law should be avoided. The reality is that this illustrates just how dangerous allowing noncitizen voting in our nation's capital would be.

The Senate should join the House in voting to block D.C.'s noncitizen voting law before it's too late.