The city of Boston is reportedly considering whether to extend voting rights within its borders to legal, non-U.S. citizens.
According to the Boston Globe, the Boston City Council is looking for a way to make city-wide elections “more inclusive” of those who live and work in the city of Boston, including people who may not have the right to vote under the United States Constitution.
If the council votes Tuesday to enact the measure, Bostonians who are “legal permanent residents,” possess a valid work visa, or who fall under the protection of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act, will be able cast a ballot to vote for mayor, city council, and other local offices.
Those without U.S. citizenship would still be restricted from casting a ballot in Federal or Massachusetts state elections.
Boston’s Council President claims that more than 190,000 non-U.S. citizens live within Boston’s borders. That same group, the Council President says, has paid more than $116 million in local taxes, which should, she argues, give them the right to make local decisions.
But as other members of the city council have pointed out, there’s a reason why non-citizens aren’t given the privilege of casting ballots.
“Voting is a U.S. citizen’s privilege, it’s the ultimate privilege,” City Councilor Tim McCarthy told the Boston Herald. “And I for one will continue to fight that it remains that way. … Voting for noncitizens is a step too far.”