1 Citizen, 1 Vote

By Stephen Lynch | The Boston Herald
Mar 16, 2019

On March 7th, the U.S. House of Representatives considered H.R. 1, the “For the People Act,” which included various campaign funding and voting rights issues. My own legislation, H.R. 391, the “White House Ethics Transparency Act,” which requires disclosure of possible conflicts of interest and ethics waivers granted to White House officials, was also made part of that bill. At the close of debate, my Republican colleagues who were opposed to H.R. 1 offered a “Motion To Recommit,” which is a standard procedure in the House rules that is used as a last-ditch procedural motion to change a previously debated bill on the floor. In recent times, it has been also used as a “gotcha tactic” to bring down legislation.

For this purpose, the Republican Motion To Recommit H.R. 1 included a gratuitous  statement that non-U.S. citizens should not be allowed to vote in federal elections. It is important to note that non-U.S. citizens are already prohibited from voting in federal elections by statute, 18 U.S.C. sec. 611, which provides penalties including imprisonment, fines and deportation for anyone violating that law. The exclusive right of U.S. citizens to vote in federal elections is a principle that I continue to strongly support. In fact, I have previously voted in favor of a stand-alone measure to restate the principle that the right to vote in federal elections remains a profound and essential right that should be reserved solely for those who enjoy the status of U.S. citizenship.

In the procedural vote on the Republican Motion To Recommit H.R. 1, I voted No. After passage, H.R. 1 (and H.R. 391) will now proceed to the Senate for further consideration. Most importantly, the federal law that prohibits non-U.S. citizens from voting in federal elections remains the law of the land.