Allowing non-citizens to vote?

Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies held a panel on that question earlier this week. A comprehensive paper by one of the participants, Stanley Renshon, is here. A transcript of the proceedings is here, and a Congressional Quarterly news story about the panel headlined Non-Citizen Voting: ‘American Dream’ or ‘One of the Worst Ideas Ever’? is here. The article begins:

An emerging movement to give non-citizens the right to vote in local elections should be resisted because it puts at risk national cohesion and the value of U.S. citizenship, according to a new report by a group that supports lower immigration.

“The Constitution, the Congress and the courts have enshrined voting as a core indispensable element of American citizenship and democracy,” Stanley A. Renshon, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, said upon release of his paper, “Allowing Non-Citizens to Vote in the United States? Why Not.”

Those who support non-citizen voting argue that it would actually be more democratic because more interests would be represented and participation in the political process would aid newcomers’ assimilation.

The report attempts to debunk that claim. And conservative columnist Michael Barone took issue with that characterization at a Sept. 15 CIS event promoting the study.

“This proposal is a tactic by insincere manipulators who want to increase the number of votes cast on their side of the issues and in the absence of interested citizens are willing to try to find any votes they can,” Barone said.

That “movement” is not “emerging” by itself, as a chick emerges from an egg. It has been created by activist groups like ACORN (Obama’s old employer) and groups championing illegal immigration. And I’ll bet that if Graen Isse, Somali community organizer in Greeley, Colorado, isn’t already involved in such a movement, he soon will be. Groups of refugees like the Somalis, bursting with grievances, are ripe for recruitment into claiming rights never before given to non-citizens.

A July paper from the Heritage Foundation, The Threat of Non-Citizen Voting, by Hans A. von Spakovsky, says:

In 2005, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that up to 3 percent of the 30,000 individuals called for jury duty from voter registration rolls over a two-year period in just one U.S. district court were not U.S. citizens.[1]  While that may not seem like many, just 3 percent of registered voters would have been more than enough to provide the winning presiden­tial vote margin in Florida in 2000.

The Heritage paper is about illegal voting activity. The Krikorian panel is about the movement to make non-citizen voting legal. These are two trends that need close watching.

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