News - Capital University Law School

Only Citizens Should Have Voting Rights, Professor Smith Opines

10/28/2022  - 

Professor Bradley A. Smith says even though the U.S. Constitution does not address it, the right to vote belongs to those who are citizens

In an op/ed piece in the Oct. 26, 2022, Wall Street Journal, the former Federal Election Commission chairman wrote that “restricting voting to citizens reminds us that voting for government isn’t like voting for the winner on ‘American Idol.’

“Voting is how citizens come together to govern ourselves.”

Professor Smith notes that most states do not have limits on who can vote while a few municipalities have allowed non-citizens to vote in local elections.

“In some of these places,” he says, “the right to vote is extended not only to lawful permanent residents but to students, workers with visas but no green cards, and even illegal aliens.

Institutionalizing who can and cannot vote could restore public confidence by establishing consistent election rules, he argues

“Americans welcome immigrants and hope they will choose to become citizens,” he concludes. “But until they do, they don’t vote.”