COLUMBUS – Today, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed HJR 4, a proposed constitutional amendment prohibiting noncitizens from voting in state and local elections. The Ohio House approved the proposed amendment through a joint resolution last week, and it now heads to the November general election ballot, where a simple majority of Ohioans can enshrine this principle into the Ohio Constitution.
Upon today’s final approval of the resolution, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued the following statement:
“To reiterate, Ohio elections are only for Ohio citizens. The right to vote is sacrosanct and fundamental to what citizenship means in America and is why so many immigrate from around the world to the U.S., wait their turn in line, and go through the laborious citizenship process so they too can participate in this hallmark of democracy.
“I am grateful for the leadership of Senator Blessing, Representative Seitz and Representative Edwards on this issue, and for ensuring that the voters of Ohio will make the final determination on this matter come November. I am confident that the vast majority of Ohioans will agree and will refuse to cheapen this distinctly American right we all hold so dear.”
In 2020, the Village of Yellow Springs exposed ambiguity in Ohio’s constitution when it attempted to allow non-citizens the right to vote in local elections. While Secretary LaRose instructed the Greene County Board of Elections to reject the voter registrations and ballots cast by noncitizens, it has become abundantly clear that this remains a weakness in Ohio election administration. Without the clarity provided in the Amendment, future Secretaries of State might choose to agree to bestow the precious, uniquely American right to vote to people who are not American citizens.
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