COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio voters have approved an amendment to the state Constitution that will prohibit noncitizens from voting in local elections.
State Issue 2 makes a wording change to the Ohio Constitution from guaranteeing voting rights for “every citizen” of the U.S. who meets certain criteria to “only citizens” of the U.S. who do.
Currently, the Ohio Constitution allows every U.S. citizen to vote if they meet the following qualifications:
- Being at least 18 years of age
- Being a resident of the state, county, township or wards
- Having been registered to vote for 30 days
- Having the qualifications of an elector
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With the passages, Ohio is currently the seventh state to take this step. The other states — Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota and North Dakota — adopted the “only citizens” alternative in their state constitutions, according to the group Americans for Citizen Voting.
Issue 2 comes years after efforts from an Ohio village to allow people who are not U.S. citizens to vote in local elections.
In 2019, the Village of Yellow Springs near Dayton voted in favor of a referendum to let people who are not U.S. citizens vote in local elections. LaRose argued that the rule violated both state and the U.S. constitutions and directed the Greene County Board of Elections not to accept any voter registrations from noncitizens and to cancel the voter registrations.
Village leaders disagreed, said City Council President Brian Housh, but they didn’t have the resources to mount a legal challenge. They would have argued that expanding voting to noncitizens falls within Yellow Springs’ rights to home rule and local control, he said.
State Rep. Bill Seitz, one of the Republican co-sponsors of the Ohio legislation that advanced the noncitizen prohibition onto the ballot, said it was particularly important for Ohio to act because its cities have the ability to tax people who work, but do not live, there.
Opponents of Issue 2 argued that it threatens the voting freedom of U.S. Citizens.
In a joint statement, Representatives Bishara Addison, Juanita Brent, Tavia Galonski and Michael Skindell say the amendment would prevent 17-year-olds from voting in primary elections. Skindell added that non-U.S. citizens deserve to have a voice in their communities.
Issue 2 was supported by both Republican Governor Mike DeWine and Democrat challenger Nan Whaley.