The City Council in College Park, Maryland voted 4-3 last night to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections even if they are here illegally. Now there's a smack in the chops for all Constitution loving, flag waving Americans, including those who emigrated legally to this country.

The decision is controversial on face value, but is even tougher for many citizens in the Washington, D.C. suburb to swallow because the council had the option to call for a non-binding referendum on the issue. The council opted to not do so. It chose not to hear what the citizens had to say. How's that for a contradiction?

In an op-ed piece denouncing the proposal the often left-leaning Washington Post stated that the relationship between citizenship and the right to vote is "crystal clear" under Maryland state law;

"An individual may become registered to vote if the individual . . . is a citizen of the United States.” The Prince George’s County Board of Elections reaffirms this citizenship requirement, which is also reflected in College Park’s charter (requiring voters to have “registered to vote with the Supervisor of Elections for Prince George’s County”).

So, how is College Park able to get away with this?  The Post explains;

"By amending College Park’s charter to broaden voter eligibility to include any person who “is a resident of [College Park], will be eighteen years of age on or before the date of the next city election, and does not claim voting residence or the right to vote in another jurisdiction.” The measure also creates a “supplemental voter registry” for noncitizens operated exclusively by College Park. By eliminating the need to register with Prince George’s County, noncitizens would be able to participate in local elections without running afoul of Maryland’s citizenship requirement."

College Park joins several other communities in Maryland in circumventing state and federal election laws. In doing so, it encourages illegal immigration which often leads to poor outcomes for those who attempt it.

Voting is a privilege afforded to American citizens. No city or town board should have the authority to circumvent the law by exploiting that exclusivity.

Editor’s Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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