Former Voting Rights of Non-citizens Influenced by U.S. Revolution, Professor Hayduk Says

Monday, August 07, 2017

TRUTH, POLITICS AND POWER -- Ron Hayduk is an associate professor of Political Science at San Francisco State University, where he is an expert on voting, political participation and immigration. Among his books is “Democracy for All: Restoring Immigrant Voting Rights in the United States.” Prior to becoming a professor, Hayduk worked as a social worker. He discussed non-U.S. citizens’ voting rights on this podcast.

From the founding of the United States to 1926, voting for non-American citizens was legal in 40 U.S. states, Hayduk noted.

“These ideas and these practices, these laws, flowed from some of the thrust of the American Revolution, the positive thrust of the idea of ‘no taxation without representation’ — government shouldn’t rest on the consent of the governed,” Hayduk said. “Of course it only was allowed initially to white men with property, so it sort of fit and buttressed the power of white-male Christians of the time.

“It was used as a mechanism as a expand the right to vote, of course, the agitation of the property lists to gain their right to vote in the 1830s. And it was used as a means to settle the West and the South, to encourage immigrants to move out and settle the West.”