My city of Montpelier Vermont voted this week to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections.
Early permissiveness. From 1776 to 1926, 40 states and federal territories permitted non-citizens to vote in local, state, and even federal elections. Non-citizens also held public office. In practice, immigrant voting promoted civic education and citizenship.
Retrenchment in late 19th – early 20th C. Noncitizen voting was abolished at the same time that other restrictive measures were also enacted by elites, including literacy tests, poll taxes, felony disenfranchisement laws, and restrictive residency and voter registration requirements—all of which combined to disenfranchise millions of voters. Efforts to “clean up” what were allegedly rampant “corrupt” practices in local government and electoral politics by big city “party machines” associated with immigrants culminated in a series of reform measures that were passed by state legislatures at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century.
A come back. Since 1988, Chicago permits non-citizens to vote in school board elections (as did New York City from 1969 until 2003 when school boards were eliminated for unrelated reasons), and non-citizens currently vote in six municipalities in Maryland. These jurisdictions make no distinction between documented and undocumented immigrants—all non-citizens are permitted to vote in these local elections (as was true in New York City). Since the 1990s, Cambridge, Amherst, Newton, and Brookline, Massachusetts, have extended the right for documented non-citizens in local elections.
In 2010, voters in San Francisco narrowly defeated a ballot proposal (Proposition D) that would have granted all parents and guardians of children in the public school system voting rights in school board elections, regardless of their immigrant status. In 2016, voters passed a similar proposal (Proposition N).
Republican attack. The House passed on September 26, 2018 a resolution to rebuke cities that allow non-citizens to cast votes in certain local elections.
Content from here.