James Wilkinson, Daily Mail
Officials at a Maryland city are weighing up whether they should give undocumented immigrant residents the right to vote.
If it does so, College Park – which is home to the University of Maryland and 30,000 people – will become the largest city in the state to open its local elections up in such a way.
‘These are folks who have a significant stake in our community, and who rely on the facilities in our city,’ City Councilwoman Christine Nagle, who is sponsoring the measure, told the Baltimore Sun. ‘To me, it just made sense.’
Nagle and other supporters stress that the votes only apply to local matters such as trash collection, snow clearing and other services that affect everyone regardless of immigration status.
It doesn’t allow residents to vote for presidents, senators, representatives or governors.
College Park is following the lead of other Maryland cities such as Tacoma Park, which has separate registration rolls for the 300 people among its 17,000 residents who can only vote in local elections.
Nine other municipalities across Montgomery and Prince George’s counties have imposed similar voting rules in decisions made as far back as 1918.
But many in College Park have come out against the proposals.
‘On a personal level, I do not agree that noncitizens should be voting,’ City Councilwoman Mary C Cook said, though she agreed to listen to opposing arguments.
Jeff Werner of Help Save Maryland, which demands tighter immigration policies in the US, says that while he supports people having a greater involvement in the community, only citizens should vote.
He’s against green card holders and those on residency visas voting – and even more strongly opposed to illegal immigrants being able to cast a ballot.
‘What gives them that privilege?’ he asked.
Conservative group Judicial Watch has also raised concerns about voter fraud in Maryland, saying there are more registered voters than there are people legally of age to vote.
Montgomery County officials said that was because there are 16- and 17-year-olds who have pre-registered to vote.
College Park officials will decide on the measure on Tuesday.