Florida voters to decide 2020 ballot measure regarding voter citizenship

The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Thursday, September 26, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Florida voters to decide 2020 ballot measure requiring voter citizenship
  2. Local Roundup
  3. Quiz: Which state has hosted the most presidential debates?

Florida voters to decide 2020 ballot measure requiring voter citizenship

I hope you were able to join us yesterday for our webinar about 2020 ballot measures. ICYMI, here’s a link to the recording. One of the topics we discussed was whether voters in multiple states would decide constitutional amendments making citizenship a requirement to vote.  

The Florida Division of Elections reported September 19 that the Citizen Requirement for Voting Initiative—sponsored by Florida Citizen Voters—qualified for the 2020 ballot. This measure would amend the Florida Constitution to state that only citizens of the United States are qualified to vote.

The state constitution currently reads, “Every citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.” If approved, the ballot measure would change that section to state, “Only a citizen of the United States who is at least eighteen years of age and who is a permanent resident of the state, if registered as provided by law, shall be an elector of the county where registered.”

Voters in North Dakota approved a similar measure in 2018. That measure amended the North Dakota Constitution to state that “only a citizen” rather than “every citizen” of the U.S. can vote in federal, state, and local elections. It was approved by a vote of 66% to 34%. A similar amendment is certified to appear on the ballot in Alabama in 2020. 

Voters in San Francisco approved a measure—Proposition N—in 2016 which allowed non-citizens to register to vote in school board elections. New York City allowed noncitizens to vote in local school board elections from 1968 to 2003 until the city abolished elected school boards. Members of the New York City Board of Education are now appointed by the mayor and five borough presidents. As of 2019, 11 cities in Maryland, including Hyattsville, Mount Rainier, and Takoma Park allowed non-citizens to vote. 

All state constitutions mention United States citizenship when discussing voting qualifications. Here are five additional facts about statewide constitutions.

  • Twenty-one states use the specific phrase “Every citizen of the United States…” when discussing who is a qualified elector. 

  • An additional 16 states use the word “every” but structure the sentence differently. 

  • Six states use the word “all” or “any” when discussing citizenship and suffrage. 

  • Six other states have some other way of phrasing the sentence. 

  • North Dakota is currently the only state to use the phrase “Only a citizen of the United States…” after having changed it from “every” via Measure 2 in 2018.

The map below shows the specific language used in state constitutions regarding citizenship and voter qualification: 

Language regarding citizenship

Map key:

  • Purple: “Only a citizen of the United States…”
  • Dark green: “Every citizen of the United States…”
  • Light green: Uses the term “every”
  • Dark blue: Uses the terms “any” or “all”
  • Grey: Unique language concerning citizenship and suffrage
Learn more blank    blankblank   


Local Roundup 

At Ballotpedia, we provide election coverage of all officeholders in the nation’s 100 largest cities—including mayors, city council members, and other municipal officers. We also cover every election on the ballot in these cities, such as county officials and local ballot measures.

Here’s our weekly summary of the local news we’re covering. Email me to suggest some interesting local election coverage in your area—I’d love to hear about it!

Boston

Boston held primary elections September 24 in four of nine city council districts and for the four at-large seats on its 13-member city council. The top two finishers in each district race—and the top 8 finishers in the at-large race—advanced to the November 5 general election. 

All five incumbents who competed in the primary—the four at-large council members and District 7 councilwoman Kim Janey—advanced to the general election. In total, 10 of 13 incumbents are running for re-election and four incumbents are unopposed. In 2017, 10 incumbents sought re-election and all 10 won another term. In 2015, all 13 city council incumbents ran for re-election and two were defeated in the general election. 

Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham voters will elect three city council members and decide three ballot measures on October 8. The three council races are special elections for seats that were vacated and filled through appointments in 2018 and 2019. In all three districts, the appointed members are running for a full term on the council. Thirteen candidates in total are running.

The three ballot measures are property tax measures to raise revenue for operations and debt service of Birmingham City Schools. The taxes were first collected in 1951 and are set to expire in September 2021. Approval of the measures would authorize the taxes for an additional 25 years. Birmingham City Schools reported that the tax revenue associated with these items is approximately $32 million per year, which is about 14 percent of the district’s budget.


#BallotTrivia

Which state has hosted the most presidential debates?  

Yesterday’s Brew included a story about the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has sponsored and organized every presidential and vice presidential general election debate since 1988. Our page on the Commission lists the date, location, and participants of those previous debates.

I don’t know if you noticed, but some states have hosted more debates than others. Which state has hosted the most presidential and vice presidential general election debates since 1988?


 




About the author

Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia and can be reached at dave.beaudoin@ballotpedia.org

Bitnami