A bill was introduced to the Council today that would allow people who are D.C. residents but not U.S. citizens local voting rights. The Local Resident Voting Rights Act of 2013 was introduced by Councilmembers Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 8), Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), David Grosso (I-At Large) and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6). The bill would amend the District of Columbia Election Code to allow non-citizens over the age of 18 who have lived in D.C. for at least 30 days and are legal permanent U.S. residents to vote in local elections. Translation: D.C. residents with a green card would be able to vote in municipal elections. “Pot holes, community centers, playgrounds, minimum wage, taxes, supercans, snow removal, alley closings, alcohol license moratoriums, red light cameras – these are all important issues that voters in the District of Columbia entrust their leaders with,” Grosso said in a statement. “And unfortunately, not all of our residents have say in choosing the individuals who make these decisions. In my opinion, that is unjust.”
“D.C. residents know all too well what it means to be denied equal voting rights in the United States,” Wells said in a statement. “It goes without question that every resident of D.C. deserves a vote and a voice in our local government. D.C. needs to be a great place for everyone to live, work and raise a family. No one should be denied these basic rights.”
There were nearly 54,000 foreign born, but not naturalized U.S. citizens living in D.C. in 2012, according to the Census Bureau. Six towns in Maryland allow non-citizens to vote in local elections.