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Idaho legislators approve ballot info for noncitizen voting constitutional amendment

Idaho’s Legislative Council on Monday approved ballot language for a proposed amendment to the Idaho Constitution that would prohibit non-U.S. citizens from voting in Idaho elections. | Kyle Pfannenstiel, Idaho Capital Sun
BOISE (Idaho Capital Sun) — A proposed amendment to the Idaho Constitution that would prohibit non-U.S. citizens from voting in Idaho elections will go before voters on the November general election ballot.
That comes after the Idaho Legislature in March widely approved House Joint Resolution 5, with only 12 votes against it and 91 votes in support across the Idaho House and Senate.
“No person who is not a citizen of the United States shall be a qualified elector in any election held within the state of Idaho,” the resolution says.
The Idaho Constitution already lists U.S. citizenship as a qualification to be a qualified elector.
On Monday, Idaho’s Legislative Council — a committee of legislative leaders — approved ballot language for the constitutional amendment. The council will submit the language to the Secretary of State’s Office, a spokeswoman for the office said, and the office will publish the language in several newspapers and its voter pamphlet that is sent to all Idaho voters before the November election.
The vote by the council largely accepted ballot language drafted by the Legislature’s research arm, the Legislative Services Office. That includes statements in support of and against the amendment. 
Idaho House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel — who unsuccessfully attempted several times to tweak the ballot language — decried the process used to approve the ballot language.
“It is really abusing the majority power here to totally silence those who oppose this from having a say in articulating the opposition statement,” Rubel, D-Boise, said at the meeting.
Idaho Senate President Pro-Tempore Chuck Winder, R-Boise, said legislative staff wrote the original ballot language, not the committee.
“We tried to wordsmith. And our own preferences were starting to put into it,” said House Majority Leader Jason Monks, R-Meridian. “I think we came up with a worse product than what they were able to put in a more objective process. And I think that’s why we ended up sticking with the original one.”
Monks’ motion — approved by the Legislative Council — was to accept the original version, and add language to the first statement in support to state that noncitizens can’t vote in government elections in Idaho.
Rubel said earlier in the meeting that she was concerned the amendment could be misconstrued to impact non-government, private elections, such as for parent teacher associations or nonprofit boards.
Only five public comments were submitted on the amendment, with three in favor and two against, according to Idaho Reports. 
What information about the proposed constitutional amendment will be on November ballot?
The statements in support say the amendment is needed:

“to clarify that United States citizenship is a requirement for eligibility to vote in Idaho elections because the current language does not expressly prohibit noncitizens from voting.” The statement in support says the amendment will ensure people who aren’t U.S. citizens “do not vote in any government election in the State of Idaho.”
“to clarify that the right to vote shall not be granted in the future to individuals who are not citizens of the United States.” In some local elections in the U.S., the second statement said noncitizens have been granted voting rights, and that other states and cities have considered legislation to expand voting to noncitizens. 
Letting noncitizens vote in Idaho elections could, according to the third statement, “lead to concerns regarding election integrity and allow for foreign influence in Idaho elections.”

The statements against the amendment say:

The amendment isn’t needed because U.S. citizenship is already required to participate in Idaho elections. Federal law also says it’s a crime for noncitizens to vote in federal elections, the statement said. “Under current law, the Idaho Secretary of State requires citizenship and proof of residency with respect to individuals who register to vote, and it is a felony for an individual to provide false information on an Idaho voter registration form.”
In Idaho, there isn’t a significant election fraud issue involving attempts to vote or voting by noncitizens, the second statement said. But adding new language to the Idaho Constitution “in an effort to solve a problem that is not occurring could inadvertently create new problems or add an additional barrier to registering to vote by new citizens and state residents,” the statement said, 
The amendment “undermines local control of local elections,” the statement said. “The amendment would foreclose any opportunity in the future for the Idaho Legislature or local governments in Idaho to authorize noncitizens to vote in certain elections that might directly affect their interests.”
Review 2024 HJR 5 arguments for and against here

The post Idaho legislators approve ballot info for noncitizen voting constitutional amendment appeared first on East Idaho News.

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