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House Democrats reject motion condemning illegal immigrant voting in elections


'We are prepared to open up the political process...'

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

House Democrats on Friday voted to defend local governments that allow non-citizens to vote in municipal elections, rejecting GOP-backed language condemning the practice.

What are the details?

The Republican-led provision would have added language to H.R. 1 — known as the "For the People Act" — declaring that "allowing illegal immigrants the right to vote devalues the franchise and diminishes the voting power of United States citizens," according to Fox News.

The language was rejected by a vote of 228-197. Six Democrats voted in favor of the motion, while one Republican voted against it, siding with Democrats.

An identical motion was approved by the House last September when Republicans controlled the House.

Still, as the Washington Times noted, the rejection has virtually no practical impact. That's because existing federal election law bars non-citizens from voting in federal elections. The GOP provision specifically targeted localities allowing non-citizens to vote in municipal elections, a practice gaining momentum in progressive cities.

Currently, non-citizens are allowed to vote in school board elections in San Francisco.

What did lawmakers say?

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), who is quickly becoming a star in the Republican Party, rebuked Democrats for rejecting the language.

Meanwhile, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the Civil Rights movement, led the charge against the language, according to the Washington Times. He said, "We are prepared to open up the political process and let all of the people come in."

What is H.R. 1?

The "For the People Act" is the cornerstone of the Democratic legislative agenda this year. The bill, which has been characterized as sweeping election reform, seeks to both expand voter access and reform campaign finance laws.

Democrats believe in expanding the electorate — some even believe 16-year-olds should be allowed to vote — and argue against special interest money in elections.

Overall, the House approved the bill by a vote of 234-193. Unfortunately for Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has essentially killed the bill already, saying he will not bring it to a floor vote in the Senate.

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