COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohioans are poised to vote this fall on a proposal to expressly prohibit noncitizens from voting in local elections.
The proposed constitutional amendment previously passed the Ohio House over Democrats' objections. It cleared the Republican-led state Senate on Wednesday, sending the measure to the fall ballot.
The issue stands to ignite GOP voters ahead of this year's high-stakes midterm election, which includes races for governor, Congress and the state Legislature. Backers call the proposed noncitizen voting ban preventative, but Democrats have criticized it as taxation-without-representation and infringement on home rule.
At issue is a legal loophole that remained after the village of Yellow Springs approved a charter amendment in 2020 to allow legal immigrants to vote on certain local candidate races and tax issues.
Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose ordered the county elections board to discount any noncitizen votes that were cast, arguing that the charter amendment violated both the U.S. and Ohio constitutions. The Yellow Springs council insisted that it was within its home rule rights to extend the local right to vote to legal immigrants, but it didn't challenge LaRose's decision in court.
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