Palm Beach County, Florida: Formed to combat the growing trend of local governments across the country giving legal voting rights to non-citizens, Citizen Voters announced that its Florida efforts have collected over 1.5 million petition signatures – well in excess of signatures needed to qualify for the November 2020 ballot. With this success, Florida joins Alabama where the Citizen Voters Amendment will be on the November 2020 ballot.
The North Dakota Citizen Voters Amendment passed there in November 2018, with an overwhelming 66% support.
The Citizen Voter Amendment seeks to change state Constitutions to limit voting to only citizens. The campaigns are a response to partisan efforts to give legal voting rights to non-citizens in local elections. Cities in California, Illinois, Maryland and Vermont are allowing non-citizens to legally vote. Efforts in Massachusetts, Maine, New York and elsewhere are underway to additionally allow non-citizen voting.
“We are elated that Florida citizens embraced the Citizen Voter Amendment”, said John Loudon, national co-chairman of Citizen Voters. “The 1.5 million signatures we collected is almost twice the 766,000 petitions required by Florida law and more than any initiative petition in Florida history,” said Loudon.
Citizen Voters plans to pass the measure in an additional 12 states in 2020, bringing the total to 14 states. Arizona and North Dakota already having the Constitutional protection.
Citizen petition efforts are under way in Missouri, Michigan and Colorado with other states soon to be announced. Legislative referral efforts are planned Georgia, Iowa, Oklahoma and elsewhere. Florida (by initiative petition) and Alabama (by legislative referral) are the first two states to put the measure to voters on the 2020 ballot.
Neither the United States Constitution nor Florida’s Constitution specifically require US citizenship to legally vote due to inclusive language, “Every Citizen…shall be an elector…”
This inclusive phrase clarifies only who can vote in Florida, not who cannot legally vote. It is this loophole that opens the door to non-citizen voting. The Citizen Voters amendment fixes this loophole with just a three-word change. The entire amendment simply strikes the words “Every citizen…” and inserts the words, “ONLY A CITIZEN…shall be an elector…”