Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Should Minnesota's Constitution be amended to allow people who are permanent residents -- but not U.S. citizens -- to vote in local elections?
That's the question Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, and some fellow DFLers want to submit to Minnesotans in the 2008 election.
Kahn said the amendment would allow local units of government to decide whether they would authorize permanent residents to vote in local elections, including for mayor and school board. It would not include state or federal races.
Under the measure, people who are at least 18 and have resided in the precinct for 30 days could vote in local elections if they are a permanent U.S. resident.
It's HF1899; so far no state senator has managed to sign on with a companion bill, but three bobos have co-sponsored this bill. Gary notes that it's only permissible for now to do this at the local level, but if you can change the state constitution to permit this, you can change it to permit voting for statewide offices. (I doubt you could do it for federal offices without a federal amendment.)
Question for Rep. Kahn: What does the word 'citizen' mean to you? And what do you thing it means to the hundreds of thousands naturalized in the USA?