BY: J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS | MARCH 17, 2023
Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2023/03/17/letting-noncitizens-vote-in-u-s-elections-is-foreign-interference/
This week, a law went into effect allowing foreign nationals — here legally or illegally — to vote in D.C. municipal elections. The only requirement other than age to vote in D.C. elections now is living in the District of Columbia for 30 days.
Most alarming about this new law is the foreign interference this law invites into the elections in our nation’s capital. Now, foreign nationals working at Russian, Chinese, and other embassies can vote in American elections. So much for concerns about foreign influence in American elections that was so en vogue in 2016.
Worse, this expansion of the right to vote to people who aren’t United States citizens undermines the very notion of citizenship. With citizenship comes loyalty to America and a shared interest in the future of the country. These foreign nationals living in D.C. have no investment in the future of America. No doubt some are in this country to spy on it.
Opposition to the proposal is bipartisan, with 42 Democrats opposing it in the House. The resolution was introduced in the Senate, but Majority Leader Chuck Schumer refused to allow a vote.
Don’t think this law is a fluke. New York City passed a law allowing foreign nationals to vote in municipal elections, and we are challenging it in federal court because it was enacted with a racial motivation. San Francisco also passed a law allowing foreign nationals to vote in school board elections.
The D.C. Council didn’t appear to act with an illegal motivation, so the prospects of overturning the law in court are slim, at best. It’s up to Congress to undo this growing threat to American sovereignty.
Citizenship should mean something. Many foreigners spent years coming to our country and achieving citizenship status. Along with citizenship came responsibilities and the cherished right to vote. These laws allowing foreign nationals to vote are a slap in the face to people who came here legally and worked hard to gain citizenship status.
It also diminishes the century-long struggle of black Americans to gain the right to vote. From Reconstruction to the civil rights movement in the 1960s, black Americans fought hard to secure the ability to vote. Now black Americans are having to fight again to stop foreign nationals from diluting their votes.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is fighting these foreign citizen voting laws. In New York City, PILF filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of four black New York City voters to have the city’s foreign voting bill declared unconstitutional for violating the 15th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act. And in San Francisco, PILF filed an amicus curiae brief to support the striking down of San Francisco’s law allowing foreigners to vote.
Only Americans should be voting in our elections. This is an issue with strong bipartisan support. The real foreign interference in our elections happens when we allow foreign nationals to vote in them. We need to stop allowing people who can leave our country at any moment to have a say in its future.
We must protect the cherished right to vote and stop letting American citizens’ votes be diluted by foreign nationals.
J. Christian Adams is the President of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a former Justice Department attorney, and current commissioner on the United States Commission for Civil Rights.
J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS
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