State Ballot Questions Produce Mixed Results
FAIR Take | December 2022
Voters in two states considered immigration issues on their ballots this year while ballots in another couple of states considered whether voting rights should be extended to non-US citizens. In Arizona, voters decided to grant in-state tuition to illegal aliens while Massachusetts voters chose to provide driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. Meanwhile, Ohio and Louisiana voters overwhelmingly resolved to reserve voting rights in their state and local elections to American citizens only.
Arizona: In-State Tuition for Illegal Aliens
In November voters considered Proposition (Prop.) 308 which will grant illegal aliens in Arizona in-state college tuition rate if they have attended school in Arizona for at least two years and graduated. This proposition partially overturned a ballot question from 2006 which banned illegal aliens from receiving in-state tuition, public educational financial aid, or state-subsidized childcare assistance. Prop. 308 was narrowly approved by Arizona voters 51.24 to 48.76 percent.
According to Lending Tree, average in-state tuition at 4-year public colleges and universities in Arizona is $11,220 a year while out-of-state tuition is $29,750 a year, a difference of $18,530 or slightly over 165 percent.
Massachusetts: Drivers’ Licenses for Illegal Aliens
The Massachusetts legislature overrode Governor Charlie Baker’s (R) veto of the so-called “Work and Family Mobility Act” to provide driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. However, a referendum petition to negate the legislature’s decision was successful and Massachusetts voters had the opportunity to reject the law when they cast their ballot in November. In order to prevent the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) from providing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, voters needed to vote “no” on Question 4.
Question 4 was approved by the voters 53.93-46.07 percent and the RMV will start issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens on July 1, 2023. The vote on Question 4 was close despite the fact those opposed to giving driver’s licenses to illegal aliens were outspent 16-1. Open-borders advocates and corporate interests spent $3.6 million in support of granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens while those opposed spent just over $200,000.
Ohio and Louisiana: Citizen-Only Voting
Voters in both Ohio and Louisiana overwhelmingly approved amendments to their state constitutions to ensure only US citizens are allowed to vote in state or local elections. Both were driven in part by reaction to New York City granting local voting rights to foreign nationals in January, a decision which a state trial court has since blocked but which New York City has appealed.
In Ohio, Issue 2, which was included on the November ballot, passed 76.9-23.1 percent. In addition to providing that only a citizen may register and vote, the amendment also specifically bans local governments from creating alien voting rights for their own local elections and offices.
In support of the amendment, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) stated “a vote is a sacred right that many have fought and bled to protect – but only a right that is earned by birth or the oath of citizenship. American elections are only for American citizens — and that should never change.”
In Louisiana, Amendment 1, which was included on the December ballot, passed 73.44-26.56 percent. Amendment 1 provided that “[n]o person who is not a citizen of the United States shall be allowed to register and vote in this state.” According to Rep. Debbie Villio (R-Kenner), who sponsored the legislation to get it on ballot, Amendment 1 was “needed to prevent towns and cities in Louisiana from doing what New York City did.”
These states now join Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and North Dakota to have constitutional amendments that explicitly allow only citizens to vote in their elections. Efforts have already begun in Iowa to put a similar state constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2024 and are likely to be introduced in other states as well.