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Council to Discuss Allowing Legal Residents Vote in City Elections

A polling booth in College Park

In tomorrow’s worksession, the City Council will discuss the possibility of allowing legal non-citizens (residents with Green card) to vote in College Park City elections.

Currently only U.S. citizens can vote in the city elections.

That said, while the Maryland Constitution requires citizenship as a prerequisite for voting in state elections, the law is otherwise silent on whether the legal residents can vote in the municipal elections. Therefore, individual municipalities are free to choose whether or not t.o allow non-citizen residents to vote. Currently, five municipalities in Maryland permit non-citizen residents to vote: Barnesville, Garrett Park, Glen Echo, Martin’s Additions, Somerset and Tokoma Park.

The proponents of changing the law argue that many of these legal residents are people are homeowners and pay the same City property taxes the citizens pay. Their children go to City schools, their streets are paved, their trash is picked up. These are legal residents of College Park.

If the City decides to make such a change, it will need to maintain supplementary voter list in addition to the main voter list of U.S. citizens that the Prince George’s county maintains.

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