MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Senate was scheduled to vote Tuesday on a constitutional amendment that says only citizens can vote in elections.
The Republican-drafted amendment must pass the Assembly this year and both houses of the Legislature in the next session before it is up to voters to decide. The governor does not have the power to veto constitutional amendments.
The Wisconsin Constitution guarantees that every U.S. citizen 18 years of age or older is a qualified voter. But it does not specifically say that only US citizens are qualified to vote in state or local elections.
Republican supporters of the measure say the ambiguity must be corrected by a constitutional amendment.
Federal law already requires US citizenship to vote in national elections. No state constitution explicitly allows noncitizens to vote in state or local elections.
However, there has been recent pressure for states to pass constitutional amendments to make it clear that voters in state and local elections must be citizens.
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke said in a statement supporting the measure he introduced that there is a ‘concerted effort’ across the country to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. .
Cities across the United States have considered varying degrees of measures to allow non-citizens such as lawful permanent residents, also known as green card holders, or immigrants living in the United States without permission legal and student visa holders to vote in local elections for school boards or town councils.
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