Seven states have prohibited noncitizens from voting in state and local elections. In North Carolina, Senate Bill 630 would change the language of the state constitution, making it the eighth to do so.

WFDD’s David Ford spoke with Wake Forest University politics professor John Dinan about the potential move and what’s driving it. 

Interview Highlights

On Senate Bill 630:

“There's 17 states around the country where if the citizens want to put a measure on the ballot to change the state constitution, they can do so just by getting enough signatures. That's not the case in North Carolina. The only route to change the state constitution is for three-fifths of both houses of the state legislature to actually support putting a measure on the ballot. It then goes to the ballot, and if a majority of voters approve it, it gets approved and the Constitution is changed." 

On the likelihood of S.B. 630 being approved by a majority of N.C. voters:

"There are types of ballot measures that when we see them go to the ballot, they just pass. And there's several examples of this. It's been a long time since voters around the country have turned down a minimum wage increase measure. They're put to the voters and voters pass them. It's a similar situation with noncitizen voting prohibition measures. When they have gone before voters — and they've gone a half dozen times in the last few years — they have been passed, and they usually passed by healthy margins." 

On justifications offered for noncitizens voting in local elections:

"One of the leading places that this oftentimes comes up is in board of education elections. And people say, 'Look, our children, our families are in the schools, we have a stake in this community, we are just as well positioned to cast votes on who's best to be governing our schools as citizens would be. We're all going to the schools, why shouldn't we have a chance to participate in the governance?'"

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