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A personal proposition to extend US democracy and improve civics

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  • A personal proposition to extend US democracy and improve civics

    An interesting op-ed piece from the middle of the week about extending the franchise to better reflect the views of all who live and work legally in the USA.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/28/o...elections.html

    Ms. Abrahamian asks why those who live in the USA, albeit not citizens, but hold work permits or green card,; pay their taxes, and contribute as law-abiding members of US society should not have a say in electing the officials who represent them along with US citizens.

    She has lived and worked in New York since 2004 but has never had an opportunity to vote, as she points out:


    [..]for me and my fellow noncitizens, it is a fact of political life that we submit to unquestioningly year after year, primary after primary, presidential election after presidential election. Nearly 15 million people living legally in the United States, most of whom contribute as much as any natural-born American to this country’s civic, cultural and economic life, don’t have a say in matters of politics and policy because we — resident foreign nationals, or “aliens” as we are sometimes called — cannot vote.


    She continues that extending the franchise to settled non-citizens might also revitalise US democracy and reflects on previous restrictive voting rights.

    Expanding the franchise in this way would give American democracy new life, restore immigrants’ trust in government and send a powerful message of inclusion to the rest of the world. It’s easy to assume that restricting the franchise to citizens is an age-old, nonnegotiable fact. But it’s actually a relatively recent convention and a political choice. Early in the United States’ history, voting was a function not of national citizenship but of gender, race and class. As a result, white male landowners of all nationalities were encouraged to play an active role in shaping American democracy, while women and poor, Indigenous and enslaved people could not. voting laws can be altered — and that restrictive ones tend not to age well.


    She likewise illustrates the misconception that citizen voting rights have always been the prerogative of the federal government, noting that Arkansas was the last state to eliminate non-citizen voting in 1926 and that it was not until 1996 that Congress brought in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act which “made voting in federal elections while foreign — already not permitted because of state-level rules — a criminal, and deportable, offense”.

    She also points to the notion of representation; whereby the more individuals who live in a country have an opportunity to vote, the more accurately elections reflect the wishes of the majority within the country; observing that although the 2020 presidential election was considered a high turnout, only 65% of eligible voters actually voted.

    She acknowledges concerns among Republicans and that while, initially, Democrats would most probably be the biggest beneficiaries of such a change, it could encourage elected Republicans to appeal to a more diverse constituency, and/or perhaps encourage their supporters to vote in greater numbers. In other words, it is possible that allowing those 15 million extra voters would benefit both major parties and possibly even the smaller ones such as the Libertarians or Greens.

    She opines that it is just good civics to allow [and encourage] people to feel they have a sense of investment in their towns, communities, cities, and the country. Furthermore, and given that the US permits dual citizenship thereby allowing those who hold dual citizenship to vote from abroad, she asks why foreign residents in the US should be not likewise be represented?

    In her opinion the difficulties of obtaining a visa or a green card are often much greater than becoming a naturalised citizen, and she informs us that it took her 15 years and over $10,000 in legal fees [not counting college fees] to obtain permanent residency. In contrast she compares the citizenship test and oath to be “like a piece of cake”.

    She ends by making the point that some local lawmakers already permit non-citizens to vote on local issues such as the collection of garbage, the state of roads, and such like, so why should authorised immigrants not be permitted to vote on wider social and political issues?




    "It ain't necessarily so
    The things that you're liable
    To read in the Bible
    It ain't necessarily so
    ."

    Sportin' Life
    Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

  • #2
    Foreigners should have a say in how a country is run? Nope.
    sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by tabibito View Post
      Foreigners should have a say in how a country is run? Nope.
      Yet as the OP points out, when it comes to local matters, many already do.
      "It ain't necessarily so
      The things that you're liable
      To read in the Bible
      It ain't necessarily so
      ."

      Sportin' Life
      Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

      Comment


      • #4
        In my country such people can vote.

        Since there is approximately a 0% chance Republicans would support this, and 100% chance they'd go off their rockers and do something worse than Jan 6th if the Democrats did manage to pass it, what's the point of floating the idea?

        Comment


        • #5
          People who want to have a say have the option of becoming citizens. Not becoming a citizen is prima facie evidence that the person is not committed to the country in question.

          She opines that it is just good civics to allow [and encourage] people to feel they have a sense of investment in their towns, communities, cities, and the country. Furthermore, and given that the US permits dual citizenship thereby allowing those who hold dual citizenship to vote from abroad, she asks why foreign residents in the US should be not likewise be represented?
          On the basis of that, it seems that the US doesn't even require exclusive citizenship.
          It is by no means "good civics" to allow foreigners to have a say in the affairs of a country - not unless the people of that country place no value on their own culture, anyway.
          sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
            An interesting op-ed piece from the middle of the week about extending the franchise to better reflect the views of all who live and work legally in the USA.

            https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/28/o...elections.html

            Ms. Abrahamian asks why those who live in the USA, albeit not citizens, but hold work permits or green card,; pay their taxes, and contribute as law-abiding members of US society should not have a say in electing the officials who represent them along with US citizens.

            She has lived and worked in New York since 2004 but has never had an opportunity to vote, as she points out:


            [..]for me and my fellow noncitizens, it is a fact of political life that we submit to unquestioningly year after year, primary after primary, presidential election after presidential election. Nearly 15 million people living legally in the United States, most of whom contribute as much as any natural-born American to this country’s civic, cultural and economic life, don’t have a say in matters of politics and policy because we — resident foreign nationals, or “aliens” as we are sometimes called — cannot vote.


            She continues that extending the franchise to settled non-citizens might also revitalise US democracy and reflects on previous restrictive voting rights.

            Expanding the franchise in this way would give American democracy new life, restore immigrants’ trust in government and send a powerful message of inclusion to the rest of the world. It’s easy to assume that restricting the franchise to citizens is an age-old, nonnegotiable fact. But it’s actually a relatively recent convention and a political choice. Early in the United States’ history, voting was a function not of national citizenship but of gender, race and class. As a result, white male landowners of all nationalities were encouraged to play an active role in shaping American democracy, while women and poor, Indigenous and enslaved people could not. voting laws can be altered — and that restrictive ones tend not to age well.


            She likewise illustrates the misconception that citizen voting rights have always been the prerogative of the federal government, noting that Arkansas was the last state to eliminate non-citizen voting in 1926 and that it was not until 1996 that Congress brought in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act which “made voting in federal elections while foreign — already not permitted because of state-level rules — a criminal, and deportable, offense”.

            She also points to the notion of representation; whereby the more individuals who live in a country have an opportunity to vote, the more accurately elections reflect the wishes of the majority within the country; observing that although the 2020 presidential election was considered a high turnout, only 65% of eligible voters actually voted.

            She acknowledges concerns among Republicans and that while, initially, Democrats would most probably be the biggest beneficiaries of such a change, it could encourage elected Republicans to appeal to a more diverse constituency, and/or perhaps encourage their supporters to vote in greater numbers. In other words, it is possible that allowing those 15 million extra voters would benefit both major parties and possibly even the smaller ones such as the Libertarians or Greens.

            She opines that it is just good civics to allow [and encourage] people to feel they have a sense of investment in their towns, communities, cities, and the country. Furthermore, and given that the US permits dual citizenship thereby allowing those who hold dual citizenship to vote from abroad, she asks why foreign residents in the US should be not likewise be represented?

            In her opinion the difficulties of obtaining a visa or a green card are often much greater than becoming a naturalised citizen, and she informs us that it took her 15 years and over $10,000 in legal fees [not counting college fees] to obtain permanent residency. In contrast she compares the citizenship test and oath to be “like a piece of cake”.

            She ends by making the point that some local lawmakers already permit non-citizens to vote on local issues such as the collection of garbage, the state of roads, and such like, so why should authorised immigrants not be permitted to vote on wider social and political issues?



            When is Germany adopting that position?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post

              When is Germany adopting that position?
              The article is not referring to Germany but the USA.
              "It ain't necessarily so
              The things that you're liable
              To read in the Bible
              It ain't necessarily so
              ."

              Sportin' Life
              Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post
                When is Germany adopting that position?
                Wiki reckons the EU forced Germany to grant residents who are citizens of other EU countries the right to vote in local elections in the late 90s.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tabibito View Post
                  People who want to have a say have the option of becoming citizens. Not becoming a citizen is prima facie evidence that the person is not committed to the country in question.



                  On the basis of that, it seems that the US doesn't even require exclusive citizenship.
                  It is by no means "good civics" to allow foreigners to have a say in the affairs of a country - not unless the people of that country place no value on their own culture, anyway.
                  I suggest you read the actual article. As Ms Abrahamian notes she is not advocating that all and sundry should have the right to vote but those settled "aliens" who make up "Nearly 15 million people living legally in the United States, most of whom contribute as much as any natural-born American to this country’s civic, cultural and economic life".
                  "It ain't necessarily so
                  The things that you're liable
                  To read in the Bible
                  It ain't necessarily so
                  ."

                  Sportin' Life
                  Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                    The article is not referring to Germany but the USA.
                    Sure, but if its a great idea for democracy, surely your home country should do it, right?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post

                      Sure, but if its a great idea for democracy, surely your home country should do it, right?
                      Unless you are prepared to comment on the topic of this thread, i.e. her proposal for the USA, I suggest you take your whataboutism elsewhere.
                      "It ain't necessarily so
                      The things that you're liable
                      To read in the Bible
                      It ain't necessarily so
                      ."

                      Sportin' Life
                      Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CivilDiscourse View Post
                        Sure, but if its a great idea for democracy, surely your home country should do it, right?
                        It's conceivable that it's a solution that addresses an issue that is more pressing in the US than in Germany. Last I looked, in Germany the protesters aren't storming the capital buildings. Also the OP article was a NY Times article, so whether Germany does it, isn't necessarily the point. Chances are good Hypatia supports this being implemented in Germany also, so I doubt there's inconsistency there.

                        As I mentioned, we have non-citizen voting in my country. I don't support it and think we should remove it. The most noticeable effect is that there's a large non-citizen Chinese immigrant voting bloc who appear to be more loyal to China and appear to cast votes primarily based on which party supports China the most.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                          It's conceivable that it's a solution that addresses an issue that is more pressing in the US than in Germany. Last I looked, in Germany the protesters aren't storming the capital buildings. Also the OP article was a NY Times article, so whether Germany does it, isn't necessarily the point. Chances are good Hypatia supports this being implemented in Germany also, so I doubt there's inconsistency there.

                          As I mentioned, we have non-citizen voting in my country. I don't support it and think we should remove it. The most noticeable effect is that there's a large non-citizen Chinese immigrant voting bloc who appear to be more loyal to China and appear to cast votes primarily based on which party supports China the most.
                          Thank you for that reply. I do not, however, wish for CivilDiscourse to ride one of his hobbyhorses on this thread!
                          "It ain't necessarily so
                          The things that you're liable
                          To read in the Bible
                          It ain't necessarily so
                          ."

                          Sportin' Life
                          Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                            I suggest you read the actual article. As Ms Abrahamian notes she is not advocating that all and sundry should have the right to vote but those settled "aliens" who make up "Nearly 15 million people living legally in the United States, most of whom contribute as much as any natural-born American to this country’s civic, cultural and economic life".
                            That was made readily apparent in your earlier post.

                            If they want a say, they are entitled to become citizens - which will give them that say. If for some reason a case can be made demonstrating that given people are unfairly prevented from becoming citizens, that becomes an issue in need of addressing.
                            sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                              Unless you are prepared to comment on the topic of this thread, i.e. her proposal for the USA, I suggest you take your whataboutism elsewhere.
                              I now understand that this is a "For you, but not for me" topic.

                              To address it. I find no reason to allow non-citizens to vote. It is not a typical thing in the world.

                              Comment

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