After much fuss, lawmakers in College Park, Md., opted not to take up a controversial proposal to let non-citizens vote in local elections.
According to WTOP, College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn said the city council would push back its vote to early September. Before the quieting development last night, College Park had grabbed national headlines for considering a city charter amendment to allow undocumented immigrants to vote in city elections, such as a mayoral and city council races, as well as referenda relating to city services like trash pickup. Undocumented residents would still have been barred from voting in state or federal elections.
While nearly a dozen other localities in Maryland allow non-citizens to vote – including nearby Hyattsville and Takoma Park – College Park would have been the state’s largest city to make such a change.
The city council first took up the idea at a council hearing on June 13. In the weeks afterward, dozens of city residents submitted varied testimony in support of or opposition to the measure. Some wrote that they felt it was unfair for people who might not pay income or local taxes to help decide who leads College Park or determine how the city spends its money. Others backed the idea, saying they wanted their town to be as open as it could be, particularly during a new era of ramped-up crackdowns threatening the livelihoods of immigrants.
Councilwoman Christine Nagle, who sponsored the bill, told WTOP that she and her council colleagues will explore whether to put the idea up for a referendum vote in the November elections, as some residents suggested in their testimony.
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