OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
A New York Times piece has made a radical suggestion that, if implemented, could change the nature of elections in the United States forever.
The writer of the opinion story, Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, is a legal immigrant and titled his story “There Is No Good Reason You Should Have to Be a Citizen to Vote.”
A story with that title in one of the most read newspapers in the world is going to garner some attention, and it did.
Abrahamian makes the case that “for me and my fellow noncitizens, it is a fact of political life that we submit to unquestioningly year after year, primary after primary, presidential election after presidential election. Nearly 15 million people living legally in the United States, most of whom contribute as much as any natural-born American to this country’s civic, cultural and economic life, don’t have a say in matters of politics and policy because we — resident foreign nationals, or “aliens” as we are sometimes called — cannot vote.”
It sounds like a good faith argument from someone who just wants the right to vote in a nation where he resides and pays taxes.
But then you have to read just one paragraph farther to comprehend what it is that Abrahamian actually wants.
“Considering the Supreme Court’s recent decision undermining voting rights, and Republicans’ efforts to suppress, redistrict and manipulate their way to electoral security, it’s time for Democrats to radically expand the electorate. Proposing federal legislation to give millions of young people and essential workers a clear road to citizenship is a good start. But there’s another measure that lawmakers both in Washington and state capitals should put in place: lifting voting restrictions on legal residents who aren’t citizens — people with green cards, people here on work visas, and those who arrived in the country as children and are still waiting for permanent papers,” the writer said.
And there it is.
He wants Democrats to spearhead this campaign because the Republicans are, in his mind, undermining voting rights.
The Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution says that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
The keyword their being citizen.
But that is not the end of it because Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution reads “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.”
Congress can create laws that change voting rights That means that what this writer is proposing can be done.
“In fact, states have largely decided who had a say in local, state and national elections. Arkansas was the last state to eliminate noncitizen voting in 1926, and it wasn’t until 1996 that Congress doubled down with the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, which made voting in federal elections while foreign — already not permitted because of state-level rules — a criminal, and deportable, offense. (This means that congressional Democrats working on immigration and election reform can reverse the 1996 sanctions the same way they voted them in.),” the author said.
“Allowing people to vote gives them even more of a sense of investment in their towns, cities, communities and country. There’s a detachment that comes with not being able to vote in the place where you live. Concerns about mixed loyalties, meanwhile, are misplaced. The United States not only allows dual citizenship but also allows dual citizens to vote — and from abroad,” the writer said.
It may be an opinion of one writer in The New York Times, but it is believable that this could become a part of the Democrat platform.