PORTLAND, Maine — Voters in Portland have rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed legal residents who are not U.S. citizens the right to vote in municipal elections.
The proposal was defeated in Tuesday’s election 52 percent to 48 percent.
Supporters of the ballot measure said it was only fair that immigrants who are not yet citizens be allowed to vote because they pay taxes, send their children to public schools and even serve in the military. The measure would have allowed noncitizens to cast ballots in school board, City Council and other local races, but not on federal or statewide matters.
Critics said allowing noncitizens to vote would cheapen the meaning of citizenship. They said if immigrants want to vote, they should become U.S. citizens.