Professor Hayduk: For Most of U.S. History, 'Voting by Noncitizens Was the Norm'

Thursday, September 14, 2017
Photo of I Voted sticker in English, Chinese and Spanish

NEWSWEEK -- Noncitizen voting has many opponents, but it was actually the norm in the United States from 1776 until 1926, when 40 states and federal territories allowed noncitizens to vote in local, state and sometimes federal elections, according to Ron Hayduk, a political scientist at San Francisco State University.

“For most of America’s history and in the vast majority of the USA, voting by noncitizens was the norm, not the exception,” he says.

The trend slowed, however, amid a tide of immigration to the U.S. from Asia and Eastern Europe, prompting nativist fears, says Hayduk, who supports noncitizen voting.

It’s not “so outlandish,” he says, given that noncitizens pay taxes. “No taxation without representation” was the rallying cry for the American Revolution, he points out.