Ohio Republicans pushing measure on Nov 8 ballot prohibiting noncitizens from voting in local elections.
It would make Ohio the seventh state to take such a step if it passes and could motivate turnout among GOP voters in this year’s high-stakes midterm elections. The state also has a close race for a seat that will help determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the state’s elections chief, is championing State Issue 2, a proposal advanced by Ohio’s GOP-led state Legislature. It would make a tiny but pivotal wording change to the Ohio Constitution, from guaranteeing voting rights for “every citizen” of the U.S. who meets certain criteria to “only citizens” of the U.S. who do. LaRose, who is up for reelection, said most people had assumed that a prohibition in place since 1996 on noncitizen voting in federal and state elections also applied to local elections, though the law was silent on the matter. That was, until a “bad idea” crept in from the East and West coasts, he said. “It’s a bad idea to callously give away the right to vote to people that haven’t earned it,” LaRose said at an October news conference touting the issue. “I think that citizenship has value, citizenship has status. So many of our ancestors worked so hard to earn that citizenship.” As of 2020, six states — Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota and North Dakota — adopted the “only citizens” alternative in their state constitutions, according to the group Americans for Citizen Voting.