ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. – The Santa Ana City Council is once again considering a measure that would allow noncitizens to vote in municipal elections.
Proponents argue that the city’s large noncitizen community, including those who are in the country illegally, should have a say in local affairs since they often pay taxes and contribute to the economy.
“I do believe that noncitizen voting in local elections is about increasing civic engagement,” Councilmember Jonathan Hernandez told KTLA.
Santa Ana isn’t the first city to consider this contentious issue, which has a mixed track record nationwide.
A similar measure that was approved by New York City was later struck down by the state Supreme Court.
Some states, including Ohio, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota and North Dakota have banned noncitizen voting outright.
In San Francisco, a judge struck down a law that allowed noncitizens to vote in school board elections after opponents argued that it diluted their vote and violated the California State Constitution. An appeals court recently reversed the judge’s decision, which prompted Santa Ana to move forward with its own proposal.
The measure was scheduled to be debated at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.