Earlier this month, a professor at Queens College, City University of New York asserted that “the right to vote in this country has never been intrinsically tied to citizenship” in an op-ed in the Providence Journal.
The Journal’s version of PolitiFact has now deemed the claim as “mostly true.”
The professor making the argument is Ron Hayduk. The title of his Jan. 1 op-ed was “Noncitizens voting? It’s only fair.”
Hayduk notes that “more than 22 million adults in the U.S. are barred from voting because they lack U.S. citizenship.” Some voting districts are especially affected. In Los Angeles, for example, Hayduk says illegal aliens “make up more than one-third of the voting-age population.”
Even though literacy tests and restrictive residency requirements manifestly do not encumber noncitizen voters since simply can’t vote in state or federal elections, Hayduk wonders “why should literacy tests or restrictive residency requirements be able to disenfranchise noncitizen voters?”
“The right to vote helps keep our democracy inclusive and fair, and resident voting is the next logical step toward creating a truly universal franchise,” the professor concludes. “Noncitizen voting is the suffrage movement of our time.”
Hayduk told the Providence Journal that he relied on the work of historians and other political scientists for the assertion that “the right to vote in this country has never been intrinsically tied to citizenship.” He specifically cited a 1993 law review article by American University law professor Jamin Raskin called “Legal Aliens, Local Citizens: The Historical Constitutional, and Theoretical Meanings of Alien Suffrage.”
Raskin’s law review article claims that people who are not American citizens have voted in 22 (mostly Western) states throughout U.S. history. (Hayduk says the number of states is closer to 40.)
“It is true that in the 18th and 19th centuries lots of people who were not United States citizens were voting at every level of government,” Raskin told the Journal.
Hayduk blames the animus toward allowing illegal immigrants to vote on “xenophobic nationalism” in the years following World War I.
In any case, no one who is not a U.S. citizen has been allowed to vote in a state or federal election since 1926. Municipal elections are a different story and a few places do allow illegal aliens to vote locally.
A self-proclaimed voting expert, Robert Richie of an outfit called FairVote, argued to the Providence newspaper that citizenship is historically unrelated to voting.
“There’s not a connection between citizenship and suffrage,” Richie declared.
Hans von Spakovsky of The Heritage Foundation disagreed.
“Citizenship has, in fact, been viewed by many as a requirement of voting,” Spakovsky argued, noting that state laws about who could vote and who could not varied dramatically for many decades before the Congress and the Supreme Court brought considerable uniformity.
At the end of its piece, the Providence Journal makes a labored, wholly semantic and not-altogether coherent argument for its “Mostly True” “ruling” concerning Hayduk’s claim that voting rights have “never been intrinsically tied to citizenship.”
Hayduk is a leader in a group that wants to extend voting rights to illegal aliens residing in New York City.
His Facebook page likes include a goldmine of far-left causes. There’s Electronic Intifada, Piven and Cloward, NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives, Immigration Advocacy Matters, Robin Hood Tax USA and, of course, CODEPINK: Women For Peace.