Massachusetts Considers Bill To Allow Non-Citizens To Vote

The Massachusetts state legislature is currently considering proposals to allow non-American citizens to vote in municipal elections. The effort would follow a number of initiatives by Democrats to expand voting to non-citizens and minors.

The bills currently before the state House and Senate are sponsored by Democrats in each chamber. 

During a hearing on the proposal last month, an activist told the state legislature that non-citizen immigrants “need to have a say in how public services are funded and governed.”

The effort also comes as Democrats in nearby Connecticut and Rhode Island also pushed for the expansion of voting rights for both legal and illegal immigrants.

The New York City Council approved a measure in 2021 that would allow non-citizens to vote in Gotham’s local elections. The effort would have allowed residents without citizenship to vote if they lived in the city for at least 30 days prior to an election. 

Neither former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) nor current Mayor Eric Adams (D) signed or vetoed the legislation. De Blasio said that the bill came with “big legal questions.”

However, the New York measure was blocked in court last year. Richmond County Supreme Court Judge Ralph Porzio said that the state’s constitution “explicitly lays the foundation for ascertaining that only proper citizens retain the right to voter privileges.”

“It is this Court’s belief that by not expressly including non-citizens in the New York State Constitution, it was the intent of the framers for non-citizens to be omitted,” he wrote.

In October 2022, the District of Columbia City Council passed the Local Resident Voting Rights Act, which would allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. However, the measure was challenged in court.

Separately, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) introduced legislation that would bar non-citizens in D.C. from casting ballots.

A number of left-leaning activists have also argued for the voting age to be reduced to 16, down from its current 18.