Nine jurisdictions allow all residents to vote in local elections, regardless of citizenship or immigration status:
1. Seven towns in Maryland: Takoma Park, Barnesville, Martin’s Additions, Somerset, Garrett Park, Chevy Chase Section Three, and most recently Hyattasville (2016). Most of these towns have allowed the foreign born to vote for since the 1990s or longer.
2. San Francisco in School Board Elections (2018);
3. Chicago in local school council elections (since 1988);
4. NYC — immigrants voted in the Community School Board elections (1969-2002).
All of these jurisdictions give voting rights to both the documented and undocumented.
Another dozen jurisdictions have considered restoring immigrant-voting rights. In some, legislation proposed would provide voting rights only to the documented (ex Washington D.C., Cambridge, MA), while other campaigns would extend voting rights to all noncitizens regardless of status (NYC). Some measures have been voted on by a majority of the voters in a jurisdiction (ballot proposal) while in other places measures have been passed as local laws by elected representatives.
Contemporary Immigrant Voting Campaigns in the U.S.
|Jurisdiction||Type of Law||Year||Coverage||Outcome(s)|
b) city elections;
c) state elections
b) 2005; 2013;
a) Parents School Elections
b) Lawful residents
c) All residents
b) not enacted
c) not enacted
|Chicago||Local Statue||1989 to date||All parents in public schools||implemented|
|Maryland||Local Statues||1990s to date||All residents||passed|
|Parents in School Board Elections||51-49% failed 2004
54-46% failed 2010
53-47% passed 2016
|Massachusetts||Local Statues||1990s and 2000s||LPRs||Passed; need state approval|
|Texas||State Statute||1995||LPRs||Not enacted|
|Connecticut||State Statute||2003||LPRs, property owners||Not enacted|
|Minnesota||State Statute||2007||LPRs||Not enacted|
|Washington D.C.||Local Statue||1991; 2004; 2010; 2014||LPRs||Not enacted|
|Portland ME||Ballot proposal||2010||LPRs||failed|
|Burlington, VT||Ballot proposal||2015||LPRs||failed|
California: After a near win of Proposition F in 2004 (which lost by 51% to 49%), San Francisco advocates re-grouped and got close again. In 2010, voters in San Francisco narrowly defeated a ballot proposal (Proposition D) by a margin of 54.91% to 45.09 % that would have granted all parents and guardians of children in the public school system voting rights in school board elections, regardless of their immigrant status. In July, 2016 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to put the question before citizens, and the ballot proposal passed on November 8, 2016, by a margin of 53%-47%. Press, Press, Press, Press.
New York City: Advocates formed the Coalition to Expand Voting Rights in 2004 and have successfully pressed for the introduction of legislation in 2005, 2009, and 2010. The legislation gained support of a majority of City Council members in 2013 but was not voted on. The legislation is expected to be reintroduced in the 2017 legislative session. The legislation, if passed, would allow all residents legally residing in the U.S. to vote in municipal elections. Additional information at the Coalition to Expand Voting Rights website, and the New York City Council website.
Washington D.C.: In 2015, legislation was re-introduced into the D.C. City Council by David Grasso, which would grant voting rights to legal permanent residents (LPRs) in local elections. This legislation is similar to legislation first introduced in 2004. Public Hearing and Press.
Massachusetts: Beginning in the 1990s, Amherst, Cambridge, Newton, and Brookline Massachusetts (2010) have passed home rule petitions that would allow resident immigrants who are not citizens to vote in their local elections, but these towns need state enabling legislation to implement their local laws. In 2014, Amherst again passed its home rule petition for immigrant voting rights. Boston considered a similar bill in 2008 but it lost in the Council by a vote of 8-7. In August, 2015, Cambridge introduced and passed legislation to allow LPRs. Bill and Press. Somerville also considered similar legislation.
Burlington Vermont: In 2014, the City Council of Burlington approved a measure that put a ballot measure for voters to consider, which would give Legal Permanent Residents (“green card holders”) the right to vote in local elections. The measure will need state enabling legislation to implement the law. The measure was defeated in March 2015 by 56% to 44%. For more information, see http://ivotevermont.org. Press, Press, Press.
Maine: In 2010, Voters in Portland Maine considered a ballot proposal that narrowly lost by a margin of 53% to 47% which would have granted voting rights in all municipal elections to legal permanent residents.
Puerto Rico: The Governor of Puerto Rico proposed allowing immigrants—all immigrants—to vote in elections. http://latinousa.org/2015/01/30/puerto-rico-all-can-vote/
Other cities and states that have previously considered restoring immigrant voting rights, including New Haven Connecticut, Madison, Wisconsin, Carboro, North Carolina, Minnesota, Texas, and Denver Colorado.
Globally, at least 45 countries allow immigrant voting, at the local, regional and even national levels.
 In 2007, The Boston City Council narrowly rejected by a vote of 7-6 a proposal to restore immigrant voting rights in local elections. Cambridge, Amherst, Newton, and Brookline passed local laws allowing LPRs to vote in local elections, but have not gotten state enabling legislation needed to allow the localities to implement the local laws.