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Kentucky senator pushes constitutional amendment to ban noncitizen voting

While Kentucky’s constitution says U.S.-citizens are eligible to vote, municipalities in other states, like New York City, have ruled noncitizens can vote because there is no law against non-citizen voting.

Published: February 9, 2024 11:00pm

(The Center Square) -

Kentucky moved closer to following the lead of several other states when a Senate committee approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would prevent non-U.S. citizens from voting.

While Kentucky’s constitution says U.S.-citizens are eligible to vote, municipalities in other states, like New York City, have ruled noncitizens can vote because there is no law against non-citizen voting.

Kentucky’s bill, sponsored by Sen. Jason Howell, R-Murray, would amend two sections of the state constitution related to voting. It now heads to the full Senate..

“Senate Bill 143 is a simple bill to set up a constitutional amendment to add some clarity to our voter election integrity,” Howell said.

In Kentucky, “this would close that window down the line to where only U.S. citizens would be allowed to vote in state and local elections,” Howell said.

Sen. Cassie Chambers Armstrong, D-Louisville, was one of the two to vote against the bill. She argues section 154 of the Kentucky Constitution already specifies that only U.S. citizens can vote in state elections.

“I believe this is already covered, and I worry that we are passing a lot of legislation this session focused on hypothetical problems that might spring up when we have real problems in our communities right now,” Armstrong said.

If SB 143 passes in the General Assembly, the bill will be on the next ballot for Kentucky voters to ratify. The state would join Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, North Dakota and Ohio in specifying against noncitizen voting.

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