A national grassroots organization called Americans for Citizen Voting launched the petition effort.
"We were successful with this initiative in 2020 in Florida, Alabama, and in Colorado. The people there amended their constitutions to say that only United States citizens should vote and so we want that opportunity here in Georgia," said Americans for Citizen Voting President Christopher Arps.
State law already prohibits non-citizens from casting ballots in Georgia, but Sec. Raffensperger said a constitutional amendment would strengthen the law and make it more difficult to change in the future.
"I encourage all Georgians to sign this petition in the coming days, weeks, and months ahead," said Raffensperger.
He pointed to what he described as an "alarming" trend in states like Vermont, Illinois, and California, where non-citizens are allowed to vote in some cases. In 2016 voters in San Francisco approved Proposition N, Non-Citizen Voting in School Board Elections, which will begin with the November 2022 school board election.
In order to amend the state Constitution, lawmakers in both the Georgia House of Representatives and the Senate would have to pass the legislation by a 2/3 majority. The issue must then go on the ballot for Georgia voters.
"Non-citizens are already prohibited from voting in the state of Georgia, and we have safeguards in place to ensure that only eligible voters are able to cast a ballot," said state Rep. Bee Nguyen, D-Atlanta, who is running for Secretary of State in 2022. "This is yet another attempt from the Secretary of State to appeal to a Republican base that has rejected him."
Republican David Belle Isle is also running against Sec. Raffensperger.
"I support the existing law that makes it illegal for non-citizens to vote. I support the proposed Amendment making it ‘really’ ‘really’ illegal for non-citizens to vote. But, Raffensperger’s just trying to look busy. He needs to investigate and prosecute: the 1,700 voters he concedes voted twice; the voters who claim a UPS store as their primary residence; the voters who voted after relocating. We need leadership not window dressing," he said in a statement to FOX 5.
To learn more about the petition effort, visit OnlyCitizens.Vote.
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