Louisiana Amendment 1 seeks to prevent noncitizen voting

A joint resolution passed by both houses of Louisiana state government is up for vote in a December 10th statewide special election.

If it passes, Amendment 1 will codify in the Louisiana constitution that only American citizens can vote in any level of election statewide.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana Skyline and State Capitol on the Mississippi River. (Photo by: Visions of America/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Baton Rouge, Louisiana Skyline and State Capitol on the Mississippi River. (Photo by: Visions of America/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) (Photo by: Visions of America/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

While noncitizens cannot vote in federal elections since 1996’s Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, election laws regarding noncitizens at state and local levels are left for those jurisdictions to decide.

Over the past 26 years, progressive states and localities have pushed at those boundaries laid in the IIRIA.

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Municipalities like Montpelier, Vermont have allowed noncitizens to vote in local elections like school board through a technicality in the Green Mountain State’s constitution.

Most recently, the Washington, D.C., city council proposed similar legislation permitting noncitizen voting for illegal aliens who reside in-district for at least 30 days.

There are the typical criticisms from the right, with Senator Cruz proposing to withdraw federal funding from D.C. government. But opposition is also coming from an unlikely source: The Washington Post Editorial Board.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R-La.) seeks to make Louisiana the first state in America to prohibit non-citizen voting statewide.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R-La.) seeks to make Louisiana the first state in America to prohibit non-citizen voting statewide. (Office of the Louisiana Secretary of State)

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin defended citizen-only voting in a statement to Fox News Digital: “This amendment is about common sense. Democrats and Republicans in the Louisiana Legislature, as well as the Washington Post Editorial Board, agree: noncitizen voting is antithetical to who we are as a republic.”

In order to qualify for the December 10th ballot, the amendment passed with a nearly unanimous vote in the Louisiana state Senate and another wide margin in the state House. 

Secretary of State Ardoin testified on behalf of the amendment in both the Louisiana House and Senate last year ahead of the legislators’ vote.

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As the law currently stands in the Pelican State, only American citizens can register as voters and vote in any election at state or local levels.

However, the same kind of loophole which is present in the Vermont constitution, that municipalities like Montpelier used to its advantage for noncitizen voting, is also present in the Louisiana constitution.

Amendment 1 closes this loophole in the Louisiana constitution if the majority votes yes on December 10.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R-La.) seeks to make Louisiana the first state in America to prohibit non-citizen voting statewide.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin (R-La.) seeks to make Louisiana the first state in America to prohibit non-citizen voting statewide. (Office of the Louisiana Secretary of State)

Secretary of State Ardoin proposed a paper component to Louisiana elections for auditing purposes alongside state legislators like Sharon Hewitt late last year in the hopes to promote election integrity.

Joel Watson, Deputy of Outreach Services for Secretary Ardoin, shared in an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital that he believes, “Louisiana is a leader in elections because we have a top-down system, which means that the state controls elections while working with local partners in clerks of court and registrars of voters. We feel like that’s a better system because the issues that people are concerned about in places like Arizona and in other states are related to the issues or failures at the county level. The top-down system is mandated in Louisiana law.”

Kyle Ardoin was nominated by his fellow secretaries of state to chair the non-partisan National Association of Secretaries of State or NASS in 2021 and completed his term this year.

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If Louisiana voters vote Amendment 1 into the state constitution on December 10, it will be the eighth state in America to ban noncitizen voting statewide per the group Americans for Citizen Voting. Ohio voted in a similar measure in the midterm elections earlier this month.

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