Portland rejects non-citizen voting

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PORTLAND — Legal immigrants will not have the right to vote in local elections, voters decided Tuesday.

City ballot Question 4 asked voters if they wanted to allow non-citizens to vote in city and school elections.

Unofficial results showed voters defeated the measure, 12,404 to 11,248.

The question was a citizen-initiated City Charter amendment. It had been considered by the Portland Charter Commission earlier this year, but that panel ultimately decided against putting the question out to voters.

A group of supporters led by the League of Young Voters took up the cause, and collected enough signatures to put the issue onto the Nov. 2 ballot.

Will Everitt, executive director of the Portland League, said Wednesday that supporters need to continue to work with state and national groups to fix the Pathway to Citizenship.

“That’s a big part of the problem,” said Everitt. “We make it way to hard and way to expensive to become a citizen.”

The city has a large population of legal immigrants, and Everitt said that population continues to grow. Supporters of the non-citizen voting question said legal immigrants should be given a say in how tax money is spent in their community and in the schools.

The measure would not have allowed non-citizens to run for office.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net

This story was updated Nov. 3 at 2:20 p.m.

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