House Passes Bill Prohibiting Noncitizens From Voting In DC Local Elections

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved legislation that would ban noncitizens from voting in local elections in Washington, D.C. The bill is sponsored by Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX) and passed with a 262-143 vote, including support from 52 Democrats who crossed party lines.

The measure seeks to nullify a 2022 law passed by the D.C. Council that permitted illegal aliens residing in the nation’s capital to vote in local contests starting in 2024.

Pfluger argued that allowing illegal immigrants and foreign agents to vote “dilutes the voting power of the citizen voter.” House Republicans have criticized the D.C. Council’s decision with Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), calling it “anti-American.”

Democrats led by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) have blasted the GOP-led bill as “undemocratic” and “paternalistic.” Norton said “D.C. residents, a majority of whom are Black and brown, are worthy and capable of self-government.”

The Constitution grants Congress the power to exercise exclusive legislation over federal districts and the D.C. Home Rule Act of 1973 allows Congress to block local legislation. Last year, Congress overturned a D.C. law that weakened penalties for some felonies with President Biden’s support despite his initial opposition.

While the House-passed bill is not expected to be taken up in the Senate or signed by Biden, it highlights the ongoing tensions between the Democratic-led city government and the Republican-controlled House. D.C. is among several municipalities across the country that allow noncitizens to vote in local elections.