A state delegate last week challenged Takoma Park’s non-U.S. citizen voting law, 20 years after the city enacted the policy that allows all noncitizens who live in Takoma Park to vote in city elections. Del. Patrick L. McDonough (R-Baltimore County) of Middle River targeted Takoma Park after proposing legislation that would prohibit noncitizens from voting in municipal elections anywhere in the state. Five other municipalities, all in Montgomery County — Barnesville, Garrett Park, Glen Echo, Martin’s Additions and Somerset — allow noncitizens to vote, according to the Maryland Municipal League.
“If Osama bin Laden was alive today and he moved to Takoma Park, he could register to vote and hold office,” said McDonough, known for his opposition to illegal immigration. “That’s how ridiculous the system is.”
But Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams and others with key roles in the creation of the law, enacted on March 31, 1992, said it makes sense for people who have green cards, those who are working toward U.S. citizenship or in the country for diplomatic purposes, to be allowed to participate in local politics. The city strongly opposed McDonough’s bill in written testimony to the Ways and Means Committee, which had a hearing on Dec. 7