Illinois Senate Bill would allow noncitizen parents, guardians to vote in school board elections

Illinois Senate Bill would allow noncitizen parents, guardians to vote in school board elections

Illinois lawmakers are considering granting noncitizens the right to vote in school board elections if their children are in the school district. Registering to vote would come with a warning about possible risks under U.S. immigration law.

Noncitizens might gain the ability to vote in school board races under a bill being considered by Illinois state lawmakers, but only for those with kids in the school district.

The bill also would require a warning to noncitizens that federal officials could obtain information on their immigration status through voter registration records.

Senate Bill 1565 was filed Feb. 6 by state Sen. Celina Villanueva, D-Chicago.

The bill language states: “elections conducted under the provisions are considered non-State elections and are not subject to the citizenship requirement in the Illinois Constitution.”

It also would require the Illinois State Board of Education to produce an affidavit for noncitizens to fill out before they are allowed to vote in a school board race. The bill states the affidavit must include a warning about the possibility the noncitizen’s information could be obtained by federal immigration authorities.

The Illinois Constitution is an example of a floor for voting rights, a law professor wrote in 2017. It explicitly gives every voting-age citizen the right to vote if they have lived in Illinois 30 days prior to an election.

Only those convicted of felonies who have yet to serve their time or those otherwise serving time in a correctional institution or jail are explicitly prohibited from voting under the Illinois Constitution.

New York City passed a law in June 2022 that would allow noncitizens to vote for city offices, but it was struck down in court as violating the state constitution.

In Vermont, the state legislature allowed some municipalities to register noncitizens in local elections, overriding Gov. Phil Scott’s veto. Proponents argued noncitizens deserved the right because they pay taxes.

Ohioans passed a ballot measure in the November election explicitly requiring U.S. citizenship to vote in all elections. Alabama, Colorado, Florida and North Dakota have all passed similar measures in the past four years.

Federal law bars noncitizens from voting for federal offices, such as the president and Congress.

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