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Non-citizens: A right to vote, or not?

To the editor: You bring up some very compelling arguments for voting rights for noncitizens who are in this country legally and pay local, state and federal taxes.  ( “Should non-citizens vote?” Editorial, Dec. 21 and “Noncitizens voting? It’s only fair,” Opinion, Dec. 23)

Your quoting of the early battle cry “no taxation without representation” has me wondering. As a 16-year-old teenager working to save money for college, I paid taxes from that time until I was old enough to vote. (At that time it was 21).

 

I don’t remember anyone crusading for those of us who paid our fair share to be granted voting rights based solely on our payment of taxes.

 

My parents and grandparents immigrated to the United States and worked during the day and went to school at night in order to become citizens and assimilate into the American political process.

 

We are a nation of laws and a model for the world. Should we now allow noncitizens to run for office? Just how far should we bend our constitution to accommodate noncitizens’ rights?

 

Frank Deni, Lake Forest


 

To the editor: I immigrated to the U.S. in 1970. I carried a green card until the day I became a U.S. citizen. The right to vote was the motivation for me. Keep that right and privilege for U.S. citizens alone.

 

Robert Hickey, Vail, Colorado


 

To the editor: Why not just have open borders entirely, if noncitizens could vote?

 

Why have the name of a country, and an enormous military apparatus

 

to protect it, and an enormous intelligence operation to spy on it with?

 

Or border enforcement officers, or ICE? Why have citizens at all?

 

Jeanne Mount, Beverly Hills

 

To the editor: Although I agree that the number of voters should be expanded, I do not think that opening polls to noncitizens is the answer. We may need more participation in the polls, but there are alternative ways to encourage citizens to vote. Voting and citizenship should go hand in hand. Voting is reserved for those who are truly invested in every aspect of this country. The first step to this true devotion is citizenship.

 

Emily Zhang, Los Angeles


 

To the editor: This country has long practiced a form of partial democracy, focused on retaining power for those who already have it and bolstered by the reasoning that sharing power will “dilute” democracy.

 

Whether it was non-property owners, women, Asian Americans or African Americans, whole groups of people who have been active parts of society (pay taxes, own businesses, participate in local institutions, act as good neighbors) have had to struggle to win their right to have a say in decisions that affect them.

 

If one believes that democracy provides strength to civil society, and I do, then it should follow that the larger the number of people involved in that shared decision-making, the better for all.

 

Dennis Redmond, Queens, N.Y.

 

 

 

To the editor: Although it sounds very democratic to have open voting, it is reasonable to ask that voters who elect our officials at all levels of government have a declared commitment to that government and to the larger cultural values it represents.

 

Citizenship is that commitment.

 

Clearly, the road to citizenship needs reform, but it is part of a gate-keeper strategy determining who gets in. Sadly, we can not accommodate everyone.

 

Donald Croley, Hermosa Beach


 

To the editor: Author Ron Hayduk thinks noncitizens should be allowed to vote because of their economic, “social and cultural contributions to their communities.” Well, I live in Upland but work in Cypress. Since my livelihood is there, I should be permitted to vote in Cypress and Orange County. And neighboring Claremont has strict limitations on chain restaurants. Since I often eat there, I should be able to affirm or reject city policies.

Ken Brock, Upland


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