COLLEGE PARK, MD (WUSA9) - After months of debate, College Park decided Tuesday evening that non-citizens, who live in town, will be allowed to vote in city elections, according to The Diamondback.
The decision came after hours of debate, in which two counter-proposals failed, and dozens of residents spoke in favor and in opposition to the plan. Under the new policy, green-card holders, undocumented immigrants and student-visa holders are all allowed to vote in local elections.
The debate first started in June, when the charter change was first introduced. It was then hotly debated at a July public hearing.The issue received national attention, leading to threatening messages being sent to council members.
In August, an expected vote on the issue was postponed to this week. Leading up to this vote, hundreds sent in public comment.
College Park now joins at least 10 other municipalities in Maryland, which have allowed non-citizen voting in local elections, including Hyatsville, Mount Rainier, Chevy Chase, Glen Echo, and Takoma Park.
The council initially voted on an amendment that would have brought up the question in a referendum. That proposal split the council 4-4, before the mayor cast the deciding vote against the proposal.
The council then considered a plan that would have allowed green-card holders to vote in local elections, while excluding undocumented immigrants. In the end, that measure also failed, leading to the vote on the bill, as originally crafted.
Non-citizens make up approximately 20% of the city, which has a population of more than 32,000 people.
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