A new bill introduced in the Connecticut state legislature would allow illegal immigrants to vote in the Constitution State, marking the latest push in a number of states to broaden voting to include non-citizens.
The legislation would amend the state’s constitution to “allow undocumented immigrants who are residents of the state to be admitted as electors for purposes of voting in municipal and state elections.”
State Rep. Juan Candelaria, who introduced the proposal for the amendment, told the Hartford Courant that he didn’t expect the bill to pass this time, but to open a debate for the future.
“When we talk about undocumented individuals, they are part of our fabric of this nation and of the state…They’re part of the community and they should have a voice,” Candelaria said. “People might not be amicable to this idea, and I respect that opinion, but at least by having the process, we can have the dialogue and we can have the debate. And that’s all I want.”
Republicans in the chamber immediately opposed the bill, with the Republican House leader telling the outlet that the proposal was “completely outrageous.”
“I think that the fact that we have open borders and now we are potentially opening up elections to non-citizens completely erodes our sovereignty in this country and in our state,” Rep. Vincent Candelora said.
The bill marks the latest push to allow non-citizens, sometimes including illegal immigrants, to vote in some elections.
Last year the Washington D.C. city council voted to advance a bill that would allow noncitizens to vote, if they were otherwise qualified to vote. That sparked significant pushback from federal lawmakers on the Hill – who moved to block it.
On Monday, Vermont’s state Supreme Court ruled that noncitizens may continue to vote in municipal elections in Vermont’s capital city of Montpelier,
In 2021, the Democrat-controlled Vermont Legislature approved two separate bills to change the municipal charters of Montpelier and Winooski to allow legal residents who are not U.S. citizens to vote in local elections. Republican Gov. Phil Scott vetoed the measures but the Legislature overrode his vetoes. Republicans filed a lawsuit, saying the moves were unconstitutional.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.