The Wash
Columbia Heights Educational Campus voting center.

Pending bill to let noncitizens vote in D.C. elections debated

Columbia Heights voters are divided over a bill that now sits on Mayor Bowser’s desk.

Voters at the Columbia Heights Educational Campus were divided this morning over a pending bill that would give the right to vote in local elections to noncitizens living in D.C. 

The new bill made its way to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office this Friday after the D.C. Council approved it on Oct. 18. Bowser has until Nov. 21 to act on the measure.

If the major signs it, the bill then goes to Congress for review.

Numerous election placards in front of the voting center.

Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau sponsored the measure. 

“The District of Columbia has long been a place that has welcomed immigrants into our community, and it’s time to allow for their full participation in our institutions,” Nadeau said in a press release

On this chilly morning, some voters at Columbia Heights Educational Center were completely opposed.  One of those voters was Winston Brown.

 “They shouldn’t vote,” Brown said. “They are not citizens. You got to be a citizen of the United States in order to vote in the United States. You come here, you work, and you got to live, but you shouldn’t vote here.” 

Voter Natalie Boyd agreed “They should wait until they are citizens. They would get the benefits before being a citizen,” Boyd said.

However, others were more precautious. 

Sign at the entrance to the voting center.

“I incline to be okay,” said Columbia Heights resident John Salsby. 

And some encourage this opening to noncitizens. Lance Swinton, a teacher at Columbia Heights Educational Campus, said he supports the bill. “I feel like if they occupy the space, they should be able to have a say in who makes changes,” Swinton said. 

Lizzy B. agreed, saying, “If you are here legally, if you are not American but you live in this area, then local elections certainly you should have an influence.” She declined to offer her last name.

Most of those who spoke to The Wash said they were not aware that the bill made its way to Bowser’s desk.

Solène Guarinos

1 comment

Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular

Most discussed