In response to growing efforts from activists to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections, new legislation aims to eliminate perceived vagueness in the state constitution that activists have capitalized on to push voting for non-citizens.

While state and federal law clearly require U.S. citizenship to vote in State and Federal elections, recent proposals to allow non-citizens to vote in local and municipal elections have garnered headlines. A city ordinance proposed in the liberal enclave of Evanston would allow noncitizens to vote in municipal elections for mayor and city council. Another proposal filed in the Senate would extend voting rights to noncitizens in school board elections.

Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 14(SJRCA 14), filed by State Senator Terri Bryant, would require citizenship to vote in any Illinois election.

The proposed amendment would strike the words “in State Elections” from the third article of the state constitution. This removal of these words would make it abundantly clear that U.S. citizenship is required to vote in any election in Illinois. For the amendment to become a part of the state constitution, it would need to be approved by both houses of the Illinois General Assembly by May 5 and placed on the November 5 General Election ballot to be approved by voters.

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