Around The U.S.

Currently, there are seven jurisdictions where noncitizens can vote in local elections in the U.S.:

  1. Chicago in school elections (since 1988)
  2. Six towns in Maryland : Takoma Park, Barnesville, Martin’s Additions, Somerset, Garrett Park, and Chevy Chase Section 3. Most of these towns, all in Montgomery County, have allowed noncitizen voting for at least two decades, some for longer.
  3. NYC allowed noncitizens to vote in the Community School Board elections (1969-2002).   By the way, all these jurisdictions made no distinction between so called  documented and undocumented (all noncitizens  were eligible and did vote).

All of the above jurisdictions provide voting rights to both the documented and undocumented to this day (except for NYC).

Almost another dozen campaigns have been launched since these victories.  Some campaigns would provide voting rights only to the documented, while other campaigns would extend voting rights to all noncitizens regardless of status.  Some measures have been passed by a majority of the voters in a jurisdiction (ballot proposal) while other measures have been passed by elected representatives as local statutes/laws.

In 2010, for example, two cities held referendums on this question in November:  voters in San Francisco defeated a ballot proposal (Proposition D) by a margin of  54%  to 46% that would have granted all parents and guardians of children in the public school system voting rights in school board elections, regardless of the status of the parent or guardians.  Similarly voters in Portland Maine, defeated a ballot proposal by a margin of  53%  to 47% which would have granted voting rights in all municipal elections only to legal residents.  That same month, Brookline Massachusetts passed a local law allowing legal permanent residents the right to vote in local elections and New York City legislation was introduced into the City Council that would enfranchise all legal residents the right to vote in all municipal elections.

Pending: Cambridge, Amherst, Newton, and most recently Brookline Massachusetts  have passed legislation that allows noncitizens to vote in their local elections, but these towns need state enabling legislation to implement their local laws.

More than a dozen other cities and states are — or recently have — considered restoring immigrant voting rights, including San Francisco, Portland Maine, Washington D.C, as well as municipalities in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, Connecticut, North Carolina, Texas, California and New York.