Cities Weigh Letting Noncitizens Vote
Published October 25, 2010
PORTLAND, Maine -- Like his neighbors, Claude Rwaganje pays taxes on his income and taxes on his cars
. His children have gone to Portland's public schools. He's interested in the workings of Maine's largest city, which he has called home for 13 years.
There's one vital difference, though: Rwaganje isn't a U.S. citizen and isn't allowed to vote on those taxes or on school issues. That may soon change.
Portland residents will vote Nov. 2 on a proposal to give legal residents who are not U.S. citizens the right to vote in local elections, joining places like San Francisco and Chicago that have already loosened the rules or are considering it.
Noncitizens hold down jobs, pay taxes, own businesses, volunteer in the community and serve in the military, and it's only fair they be allowed to vote, Rwaganje said. [Ron: Why? What difference does it make?]
"We have immigrants who are playing key roles in different issues of this country, but they don't get the right to vote," said Rwaganje, 40, who moved to the U.S. because of political strife in his native Congo and runs a nonprofit that offers financial advice
to immigrants. [Ron:
While people are busy fighting and fussing about whether they (or others) have the right to vote, the secret government controllers get on with putting their political puppets into power and telling them what to do.]
Opponents of the measure say immigrants already have an avenue to cast ballots -- by becoming citizens. Allowing noncitizens to vote dilutes the meaning of citizenship, they say, adding that it could lead to fraud and unfairly sway elections. [Bollocks! WHAT is the meaning of citizenship?! And saying that 'giving permanent residents the right to vote could lead to fraud and unfairly sway elections', is not just bullshit, it is deliberate misdirection, since the actual fraud and manipulation is always done by entrenched bankster puppets and minions.]
"My primary objection is I don't think it is right, I don't think it is just, I don't think it is fair," Portland resident Barbara Campbell Harvey said. [Ron: She’s right about ONE thing, she DOESN’T THINK!]
In San Francisco, a ballot question Nov. 2 will ask voters whether they want to allow noncitizens to vote in school board elections if they are the parents, legal guardians or caregivers of children in the school system
[Ron: Having a say in one’s children’s education is a sovereign, God given right and responsibility.]
Noncitizens are allowed to vote in school board elections in Chicago and in municipal elections in half a dozen towns in Maryland, said Ron Hayduk, a professor at the City University of New York and author of "Democracy for All: Restoring Immigrant Voting Rights in the United States."
New York City allowed noncitizens to vote in community school board elections until 2003, when the school board system was reorganized, and several municipalities in Massachusetts have approved allowing it but don't yet have the required approval from the Legislature, he said.
The Maine ballot questions asks whether legal immigrants who are city residents but not U.S. citizens should be allowed to vote in municipal elections. If the measure passes, noncitizens would be able to cast ballots in school board, city council and school budget elections, as well as other local issues, but not on federal or statewide matters.
The Maine League of Young Voters, which spearheaded the drive to force the question on the ballot, estimates there are 5,000 to 7,500 immigrants in Portland, roughly half of whom are not U.S. citizens. They come from more than 100 countries, with the two largest groups from Somalia and Latin America. [Ron: while they are doing this they are NOT thinking about, let alone changing, anything else!]
On a recent day in a small lunchroom at the Al-Amin Halal Market, a group of Somali men ate lunch and talked in their native language. A sign advertised the day's offerings, including hilib ari (goat), bariis (rice) and baasto (spaghetti).
Abdirizak Daud, 40, moved to Minneapolis 18 years ago before coming to Portland in 2006. He hasn't been able to find a job. Some of his nine children have attended Portland schools, and he'd like to have a say in who's looking over the school system and the city, he said. [Ron: Every parent has a lawful God given right to supervise the education of their children and prime responsibility to provide and pay for that education. Non-existent fictional corporate legal entities like governments, school boards etc have NO RIGHT to prevent parents and their local community from exercising care and control of the education of their children.]
But between his limited English and the financial demands, Daud hasn't been able to become a citizen. "I like the Democrats. I want to vote for Democrats, but I don't have citizenship," he said. [Ron: May we assume that Obama’s HOPE & CHANGE has worked out for him then?]
To become a citizen
, immigrants must be a lawful permanent resident for at least five years, pass tests on English and U.S. history and government, and swear allegiance to the United States.
[Ron: HOW can immigrants be unlawful? All human beings are entitled to lawfully live anywhere on Earth; the artificial “legal” restrictions placed on where people may live, work and travel are unlawful and contrary to divine law]
Supporters of Portland's ballot measure say the process is cumbersome, time-consuming and costly. The filing fee and fingerprinting costs alone are $675, and many immigrants spend hundreds of dollars more on English and civics classes and for a lawyer to help them through the process.
[Ron: All such “legal” fees and charges are unlawful TAXES imposed by fictional legal entities called governments, on sovereign human beings without their informed consent.
Allowing noncitizens to vote fits with basic democratic principles, Hayduk said. [Ron: Democracy is, at best, just a word that conceals the reality of the oppression of minorities by majorities since it is essentially a mechanism used to take the property and fruits of the labour of some people to redistribute it to others.]
Historically, 40 states allowed noncitizens to vote going back to 1776, but an anti-immigrant backlash in the late 1800s and early 1900s resulted in laws that eliminated their voting rights by 1926, Hayduk said. [Ron: Everyone has a sovereign God given right to have a say in how their community and the wider society around it, is run.]
"We look back in history and we say that was a bad thing that we didn't allow African-Americans to vote, or we didn't allow half the population, women, to vote, or we didn't allow younger people to vote," he said. "We've modified our election laws to become more inclusive to incorporate more members of society." [Ron: The “right” to vote is meaningless window dressing. What people need is freedom from oppression by banksters who create fiat money out of thin air and charge interest (usury) on it thus enslaving everyone. Similarly, people need to be free from taxation and coercion by unlawful legal fictional entities, namely governments, court systems and police forces, which claim a monopoly on the use of force and violence which they use against citizens and permanent residents alike.]
The Federation for American Immigration Reform, a Washington, D.C., group that advocates tougher immigration enforcement, says voting is a privilege and should be limited to citizens. [Ron: Part of the global controllers' deception is to pretend that voting is a privilege, it isn’t: It signifies enslavement.]
"People who are legal immigrants to the United States after a five-year waiting period can become citizens and become enfranchised," spokesman Ira Mehlman said. "But until then, being here as a legal immigrant is a conditional agreement, sort of like a trial period. You have to demonstrate you are the type of person we would want to have as a citizen, then you can become a citizen and vote." [Ron: Yabba, yabba, yabba.]
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