Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today approved by a vote of 279-72 a resolution recognizing that allowing illegal immigrants to vote in elections devalues the franchise and diminishes the voting power of United States citizens, (H.Res. 1071). House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) applauded today’s House approval of the resolution in the statement below.

Chairman Goodlatte: “Today with this resolution, we protect the sanctity of the vote in our federal system. Voting is fundamental to a functioning democracy and it’s of paramount importance that the United States maintain the legitimacy of its elections and protect them from undue interference, including foreign threats and illegal voting. Extending the right to vote to illegal immigrants, in certain non-federal elections, including school board elections, is an unacceptable precedent.

“The city of San Francisco is allowing noncitizens, including illegal immigrants, to register to vote in certain non-federal elections, such as school board elections. While the Constitution allows States and localities to grant noncitizens the right to vote in non-federal elections, the privilege to vote in elections directly affecting the education of American children should be reserved for citizens, only. To grant noncitizens, including illegal immigrants, the right to vote in elections diminishes the voting rights of U.S. citizens.”

Background: This summer, San Francisco began to allow noncitizens, including illegal immigrants, to register to vote in the school board elections this upcoming November. In 2016, the city passed a new provision granting the right to vote to noncitizens in school board elections.

The Constitution prohibits discrimination in voting based on race, sex, poll taxes, and age. And the sanctity of the vote is also part of the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on the subject. In the landmark case of Reynolds v. Sims, the Supreme Court stated “the right of suffrage can be denied by a debasement or dilution of the weight of a citizen’s vote just as effectively as by wholly prohibiting the free exercise of the franchise.”