Urgent Message for Oklahomans Who Care About Voting Integrity

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

For a few years now, I've been telling you about the growing trend across the country of municipalities allowing non-citizens — those in our country legally — to vote in local municipal and school board elections. Along with this growing trend is a movement among progressives to pressure President Joe Biden into issuing work permits to all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. — some 10.5 million people — who have resided in the US for at least a decade and have not been convicted of “serious crimes.”


Undoubtedly, many of these undocumented workers — with newly minted green cards — will inadvertently be placed on the voting rolls when they head down to the local DMV to obtain their driver’s licenses. There are numerous examples of this: 

  • “An Episcopal priest in Illinois is facing deportation after disclosing that he voted in a federal midterm election in 2006. He mistakenly thought that as a permanent resident, he could vote since the person registering him to vote never asked if he was a citizen. He was even sent a notice with polling place information.”
  • “A Fort Worth, Texas jury convicted a legal permanent resident from Mexico of illegally casting ballots in five elections going back to 2004.”

Since 2020, six states — Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Louisiana, and North Dakota — have amended their constitutions to state that “only” U.S. citizens can vote in elections. This November, another six states will vote to amend their constitutions: Iowa, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Idaho, South Carolina, and Missouri. 

Oklahoma has the opportunity to be the seventh state, but unfortunately, Senate Joint Resolution 23 — the Citizen Only Voting Amendment — is not progressing through the chamber. Oklahoma is particularly vulnerable to noncitizen voting because of its proximity to the southern border and because of Oklahoma’s generous home rule laws. The state constitution says, “All citizens of the United States shall have the right to vote.” One would think that “all citizens” would be sufficient to limit voting to only citizens, but words have meaning.


In the California court case Lacy vs. San Francisco City and County, the court found if you want to limit voting to only citizens, you need to say "only."  A future court in Oklahoma could one day rule the same way. That's why the Oklahoma legislature should pass Senate Joint Resolution 23 so the people of Oklahoma can decide in November if they want non-citizens voting legally in their future elections. Click here to tell your Oklahoma state senator you want SJR 23 passed. The last day of the legislative session is May 31st.


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