Strimling calls for non-citizen voting in Portland while highlighting Portland policies that went statewide

Mayor Ethan Strimling with members of the Portland City Council

Portland – In a Facebook post highlighting policies that were put into effect in Portland before being imposed on the entire state of Maine, Ethan Strimling today called for non-citizens to be allowed to vote in Portland elections in 2019.

Saying “When Portland leads, the state follows” and using the term “resident voting” instead of non-citizen voting in an apparent attempt to make the policy more palatable to the general public, Strimling said, “In 2019 let’s continue by leading with Paid Sick Time, Responsible Contracting and Resident Voting.”

“When Portland leads, the state follows.”

Portland, Maine Mayor Ethan Strimling on Facebook, December 28, 2018

National liberal groups that support non-citizen voting have sought to rebrand the idea of allowing non-citizens to vote with the “resident voting” phrase in recent pushes to pass the policy.

In August, the Portland City Council referred a proposal from Councilor Pious Ali to a committee rather than immediately put the issue to a vote.

Despite many concerns about the legality of allowing non-citizens to vote, and the franchise being diminished by loosening voting requirements, the major concern for the Portland City Council appeared to be protecting the privacy of non-citizens who registered to vote.

The issue became a flashpoint over the summer, with some pointing to Janet Mills’ contention in 2010 that there was no constitutional barrier to non-citizen voting, while Governor Paul LePage sent a letter to Mayor Strimling mincing no words in saying that non-citizen voting is not allowed under state law.

The last attempt by Portland to allow non-citizens the ability to vote was defeated by 4 points in a citywide referendum in November of 2010.

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