Politics

Yellow Springs wants to extend voting rights to village’s noncitizen residents

YELLOW SPRINGS — The Village of Yellow Springs is trying to extend the right to vote to village noncitizen residents.

There are nearly 30 noncitizens living in the village who want the opportunity to vote in the Midterm elections on Nov. 8.

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“We believe that this adds value to our village,” village Mayor Pam Conine told News Center 7′s Haley Kosik.

“These are folks who are business owners, who have children in our schools, who pay taxes and are very much a fabric of our community.”

An initiative on the 2019 ballot, which would allow residents who were not U.S. citizens to vote for local offices, passed. But Ohio Secretary of

State Frank LaRose stopped the initiative from going into effect.

“Ohio was founded with this wonderful, glorious Home Rule ability, which allows municipalities to institute the kind of laws that make their villages and their towns and their cities a better place in their eyes,” the mayor said.

She said allowing the village’s noncitizens to vote is a way to diversify the village’s community, to make it more welcoming.

That’s why village officials have been pushing to change the Ohio Constitution.

“And if I may, I just want to make sure everyone understands that currently, according to the Ohio Constitution, every citizen of the United States is entitled to vote.”

Village leaders said to be a citizen, a person must hold residency in the state.

“There are four other states, approximately 15 cities within which they are allowed to have non-citizens voting,” the mayor said.

Issue 2, a proposed constitutional amendment on the Nov. 8 ballot, would stop that from happening in Ohio.

Key dates for voters:

Nov. 5 is the last day to request an absentee ballot

Nov. 7 is the date by which the absentee ballot must be postmarked

Nov. 8 is Election Day