Washington Post warns DC bill allowing illegals to vote is a ‘political gift to the GOP’ before midterms

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The Washington Post called recent efforts to allow illegal immigrants to vote in local elections a “bad idea” on Monday because it could affect Democrats’ chances in the midterms.

The editorial board commented on a Washington, D.C. city council bill that would allow noncitizens, even those here illegally, to vote in local elections so long as they have resided in the city for at least 30 days. 

The board pointed out, “There’s nothing in this measure to prevent employees at embassies of governments that are openly hostile to the United States from casting ballots. Or foreign students who are studying abroad in Washington for a semester.”

The publication acknowledged that this “unwise” and “radical” bill is likely a “progressive” act to promote politics at the local level. 

The Washington Post editorial board came out against the D.C. Council's bid to open local elections to noncitizens. 

The Washington Post editorial board came out against the D.C. Council’s bid to open local elections to noncitizens. 
(Oliver Contreras/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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“Some progressives hope that reshaping the electorate will allow them to reshape local politics, prodding the city further to the left on issues such as rent control and spending on social programs,” the article read.

Although the piece heavily criticized this local bill, some of the reasons included how bill could backfire on Democrats’ efforts nationwide.

“Sponsors of the bill are rushing to get it enacted so the 30-day review period for Congress to overturn the law will expire before Republicans likely take over the House in January. This is a dangerous calculation. Democratic leaders might be handing a political gift to the GOP just three weeks before the midterms,” the editorial board wrote.

The piece added, “The council’s unwise move will likely set back the cause of statehood. Allowing noncitizens to vote in the capital city will also make passage of bipartisan immigration reform on Capitol Hill less likely. Many Republicans will point to this as validation of their claims that Democrats want open borders so they can win more elections.”

D.C. currently holds federal and local elections together on the same day and on the same ballot.

D.C. currently holds federal and local elections together on the same day and on the same ballot.
(REUTERS/Emily Elconin)

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The Washington Post also said the bill would cause “logistical nightmares” for polling locations since D.C. holds federal and local elections on the same day and ballot.  

The publication wrote, “The proposed law presents logistical nightmares that will require the Board of Elections to print separate ballots so that noncitizens don’t vote in federal races. The city estimates this will cost at least $3 million to implement.”

“We support increasing legal immigration and accelerating the process for the frustrating backlog of citizenship applications. Giving more people the right to vote is a vital endeavor, but it should be done the right way,” the piece concluded.

The Washington Post has consistently opposed allowing noncitizens the right to vote.

The Washington Post has consistently opposed allowing noncitizens the right to vote.
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo)

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The Washington Post previously condemned efforts to allow noncitizens to vote in 2013 when a similar bill was introduced.

The current bill faces a second vote after which, if it passes, it would be subject to review periods by Mayor Muriel Bowser and Congress before becoming law.

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