Ohio Ballot Initiative Features Amendment to Prohibit Illegal Aliens from Voting
Election integrity is one of the key issues that Republicans must confront for the 2022 elections and beyond. After the chaotic events of the 2020 presidential election, any Republican who ignores election integrity is clearly out of touch with political reality and is setting himself and the party on the path to political irrelevance.
Thankfully, states like Ohio are taking the issue of election integrity seriously by having its legislature vote to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot which would restrict the right to vote to American citizens, while making sure that local governments cannot extend voting privileges to individuals who are not US citizens.
Earlier this year, New York City’s decision to allow foreign nationals to vote in local elections has alarmed many conservative leaders nationwide.
Although NYC’s measure is still being dealt with in the courts, other states such as Ohio and Tennessee have taken proactive measures to ensure that only citizens vote in elections. For example, local governments have been prohibited from granting non-citizens the right to vote.
New York City’s action to enact voting rights for foreign nationals in January set off alarm bells all over the country. Other cities such as Boston, Chicago, Portland, Maine, and San Jose have been working to allow aliens to vote in their respective elections.
David Jaroslav, the State and Local Legislative Manager of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, noted that “Before New York City, only a handful of localities in Maryland and Vermont authorized voting by foreign nationals.”
Jaroslav added that “San Francisco allowed foreign nationals to vote in school board elections.”
One of the controversies that prompted the state of Ohio to take action on this matter was when the village of Yellow Springs, Ohio modified its charter in 2020 to allow foreign nationals to vote in local races.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose instructed Yellow Springs to implement this move, which prompted the village to reverse course lest it face a costly lawsuit
House Joint Resolution (HJR) 4 wants to settle this controversy by placing an amendment on the November ballot that would amend the state’s constitution to allow “only a citizen” to vote.
This language is similar to that featured in the state constitutions of Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida and North Dakota. Though, as Jaroslav observed, “HJR 4 goes beyond those state constitutions that only allow citizens to vote since it also prohibits local governments from creating voting rights for anyone else, regardless of any other constitutional provisions for home rule.”
On May 17, 2022, HJR 4 was introduced in the Ohio State House. It was passed in the House Committee on State and Local Government on May 25 by a vote of 8 to 3. The full House voted 68 to 28 with four Democrats joining Republicans in pulling the lever on the legislation.
This voting margin exceeded the three-fifths supermajority requirement needed to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot.
On May 31, 2022, the Senate Local Government and Elections Committee held a hearing on HJR 4. The following day, June 1, the committee passed the resolution on a unanimous vote of 6 to 0. When the full Senate took up the resolution, it passed it unanimously on a 32 to 0 vote.
In Ohio’s case, resolutions that put state constitutional amendments on the ballot cannot be vetoed.
The Ohio example shows the importance of getting involved in local and state level politics. While immigration is within the domain of the federal government, there are measures that can be passed at lower levels of government to contain the excesses of mass migration.
Ohio, a state that Donald Trump won by a comfortable margin of 53% to 45% in 2020, appears to be the populist epicenter of the Midwest. By passing this measure at the ballot box, Ohio voters will further solidify Ohio’s status as one of the most populist red states in the nation.
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