November 17, 2023 at 2:15 p.m.
by Kenyon Bennet
Sometimes, reports of joint resolutions and proposed bills pop up in state and national news. The far-reaching effects of those proposals can be muddied and not easily understood when differing opinions are voiced. Consider the 2023 Assembly Joint Resolution 76. With respect to voter eligibility in Wisconsin, the resolution ultimately seeks to amend the Wisconsin Constitution with the following language: “Only a United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district who may vote in an election for national, state, or local office or at a statewide or local referendum.”
In an article posted Nov. 9 on madison.com, Wisconsin State Journal reporter Barry Adams stated that Assembly Joint Resolution 76 “is meant to head off initiatives like those in other states that allow noncitizens to vote in some local elections.” This measure, if approved, could be posed before voters in the 2024 November general election, he added.
An online news magazine, Wispolitics.com, owned by The Capital Times Company, stated Oct. 24, 2023, that the resolution, along with Senate Joint Resolution 71, “would bar certain community members from having a say in local decisions that impact their lives.”
Federal law holds that “it is unlawful for a noncitizen to vote in federal elections and establishes the punishment of a fine, one year in prison, or both for violation of the law,” ballotpedia.com, the online “Encyclopedia of American Politics,” said. As of June 2023, the District of Columbia and certain municipalities in three states allowed noncitizens to vote in local elections: California, Maryland, and Vermont. As of June 2023, seven states prohibited noncitizens from voting in state and local elections: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Ohio, ballotpedia.com said.
Noncitizens should be prohibited from voting in any election. Being a United States citizen takes precedence with respect to voting rights and determining what happens within a community or state. Fully naturalized citizens of the United States who are registered voters possess the legal right to vote. Allowing noncitizens to vote in state and local elections is not a good idea and should not be permitted.