DC Council passes bill allowing noncitizens to vote in local elections

The D.C. Council voted to allow noncitizen residents the right to vote in local, but not federal, elections.

The vote by the 13-member council was 12 in favor, and one absent. Council member Vince Gray was not present for Tuesday’s meeting.

The “Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2022” will allow green-card holders and residents who entered or live in the country without legal permission the right to cast their ballots in local races starting in 2024. They will not be able to vote in federal elections under the bill.

Under the legislation, noncitizen residents could vote as long as they meet all other D.C. voting requirements: they are 18 or older and they have lived in the District of Columbia for at least 30 days.

An estimated 51,000 residents in the District are noncitizens, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

If the bill is signed into law by Mayor Muriel Bowser and withstands Congressional review, it would join other local governments in permitting noncitizens the right to vote. Hyattsville and Takoma Park have enacted similar laws.

There have been multiple attempts to grant noncitizens the right to vote in D.C., including a bill introduced by Bowser, when she was the Ward 4 council member.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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