Guest Editorial: Allow Non-Citizens to Vote in Seattle Elections


Works for me.
I'm all for it.

The purpose of democracy is to construct legitimacy for the state. The more people involved, the more legitimacy you construct. More voting is always better than less.
As a US citizen presently living in the Netherlands, I was allowed to vote in the most recent water board elections (… - not to be confused with waterboarding,) presumably because they predate the modern Dutch state. Once I've lived here for 5 years, I'll also be able to vote in provincial elections (indirectly selecting the upper house of parliament, as the US once did with the senate.)

I find that even this limited form of franchise helps firm up the social contract. I know I'm a guest worker here at the pleasure of the powers that be, and appreciate the signaling of equality - that I'm part of this society under the law.
I would support a "residence" right to vote over a "legal citizen" right to vote. However, I might also support retaining that provision from the 1850's about "intent to become a citizen".
Does it go the other way around?

I'd like to be able to vote in Mexican elections since we serve as host and benefactor to so many of their citizens.

I'd like to vote for increased Mexican police to reduce their narco-gangs, and stronger military ties with the United States so we can send troops in to clean up their political and social messes.

I'd also like a vote in China, India, Russia, Japan, Germany and any other country which affects my life and economic position.

Taxation (in the form of imposition by the citizens of other countries) without representation is tyranny...and I certainly feel tyrannized.

Our elections are entirely governed by state law, RCW Title 29A. The legislature will have to amend the law before Seattle could allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. It's too late for that to happen in the current session, but if our former mayor drafts up a bill, I'm sure he could find someone to introduce it for consideration in next year's session.
very compelling idea and and a notion i'm personally all for. i wish this article laid out a more clear path for changing standards rather than looking at racist language from the late 1800s. thanks to @6 for providing one in-road. i imagine there may be others (voter initiative, recall, special sessions, etc.) and i'd love to see the published discourse address those points in particular.
I would support this. I'm a Bellevue resident, and I honestly wish I could vote in Seattle elections, the outcomes have a large impact on me and my life, and I can only cheer from the sidelines.
I like the idea, and I like the Mayor's reasoning with this one glaring exception: "If it was good enough for white male settlers in 1853, it’s good enough for our diverse population today." I hope we can all agree that the moral decisions of 19th century white male settlers should NOT necessarily dictate our choices today.
What a bitter asshole. Mike, go away. Please.
So we'll end up with a mass of people voting to get rich liberals out of their homes by raising property taxes off the charts. This is a warning about unintended consequences from a bleeding heart liberal who thrust Seattle's motorists into his own set of unintended consequences.

Mike, you should think before you type.
@9 I think he's saying if those white settlers deserved a say over what happened to this place, so does everyone living here today, regardless of citizenship.
@6 I don't see any citizen requirement, only residency.
Let's be practical here. First, there's no chance in hell that this will ever happen. Second, we have plenty of potential voters who don't currently vote; if we focused our efforts on better turnout, we could radically change the nature of our elections.

I'd rather we focus on the possible than the impossible.
@13 It's in the Washington State Constitution:

SECTION 1 QUALIFICATIONS OF ELECTORS. All persons of the age of eighteen years or over who are citizens of the United States and who have lived in the state, county, and precinct thirty days immediately preceding the election at which they offer to vote, except those disqualified by Article VI, section 3 of this Constitution, shall be entitled to vote at all elections. [AMENDMENT 63, 1974 Senate Joint Resolution No. 143, p 807. Approved November 5, 1974.]

So...this would have to be a Constitutional Change. Not. Going. To. Happen.
Changing one's constitution precedes durable improvement. Improvement requires change. This is where youth triumphs over age--willingness to change. Yeah, I supported Jess Spear.
Go for it. Having worked for many many years with nonimmigrants/immigrants from India and China, I am well aware of how socially conservative many are, in addition to being very class conscious. I even know of one guy from India (H-1B) that left the US when he found out his was pregnant with a girl; as a Muslim, there was no way he was going to raise his daughter in the US. Where did he go? Saudi Arabia!

When letting non-citizens vote brings in more Republicans and conservative Seattle leaders, grab your popcorn, find a comfy seat, and watch the antics as city leaders backtrack.

I want to see this! Let's go!
@16, that says "shall be entitled", but it does not say those who are not entitled are restricted. That is, it's a right for those people to vote, but that affirmative right doesn't create a limitation for the extension of the privilege to others. The only expressed limitation is to those restricted by Article VI Section 3: "All persons convicted of infamous crime unless restored to their civil rights and all persons while they are judicially declared mentally incompetent are excluded from the elective franchise."
upon residency for a period of time that demonstrates commitment to the community

How long is that and how are you going to legitimately judge their residency ?
How about lowering the voting age to 16? Some municipalities around the country do that; San Francisco has a proposal to do so.
This is why McGinn can't have nice things like the Mayor's office.
Mike McGinn! Boldly looking for the issue to restart his stalled political career! This ain't it.
24 any court precedents that support your position specifically on this issue?
Interesting idea and comment thread, but as a few have noted, it ain't gonna happen. No way is this Legislature going to amend election laws, much less the state constitution, to allow non-citizen voters. Too many conservative legislators in Olympia for this to happen; Tea Partiers would go bat-shit crazy.
They already do.
I'm really interested in how we can encourage people to vote period. We had the lowest voter turn out in 36 years in 2014, and a primary election turn out that hovers around 30%. We need to change the politics and political game. Get money entirely out of the picture except for reasonable expenses (cap of $5,000?)- and make candidates gather signatures in lieu of writing a check for the filing fee.
A similar policy was implemented when I was a student in Estonia. It was exciting to feel that I had some political agency in my chosen hometown of Tartu, and I felt a tremendous responsibility to become an informed voter. Most of the other noncitizen voters didn't bother to cast a ballot at all, so it didn't make much of an impact.
See...that's the thing. Getting already registered voters to vote is difficult. If we were to pursue much energy are we going to spend getting non-citizen voters registered and then to the polls? My guess is you'd have better luck spending your energy getting eligible voters registered and to the polls, and registered voters to the polls. Plenty of work to be done there.
I think there is an erratum in the fourth paragraph (from last to first) where he wrote "non-residets" in the second line. He meant non-citizens.