The City Council passed the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act amid criticism from Republicans. Congress had a 30-day review period, during which lawmakers could have pushed to block the legislation.
The review period ended last week, the council said Monday, WAMU reported. The House pushed to block the D.C. law from taking effect but the Senate ran out of time before the review period ended.
The bill, introduced by council member Charles Allen, says that if a noncitizen is otherwise qualified to vote, they can do so in local elections so long as they have resided in Washington, D.C., for at least 30 days.
“This bill is in line with our D.C. values and this council’s history of expanding the right to vote and welcoming new voices into our political process and government,” Allen said before the Oct. 6, 2022 vote. “Our immigrant neighbors of all statuses participate, contribute and care about our community in our city.
Republicans quickly tried quashing the law. Under the terms, voters would have to be 18 years of age by the time of the general election and must live in D.C. for at least 30 days before the election and not claim voting residence in any U.S. state or U.S. territory.
In January, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. James Comer, R-K.Y., introduced a resolution to disprove of the legislation.
“Voting is a pillar of American democracy and a constitutional right that undeniably needs to be protected and preserved for citizens of this country,” Comer said in a statement. “The D.C. Council’s reckless decision to allow non-U.S. citizens and illegal immigrants the right to vote in local elections is an attack on the foundation of this republic.”
Congress can find other ways to block the law, WAMU reported, such as prohibiting D.C. from spending money to implement it.
The council urged Senate Democrats this month to reject efforts to overturn the law.
“Today ALL 13 Councilmembers sent a letter to Senate leadership opposing the efforts to disapprove properly adopted DC laws,” D.C. council chairman Phil Mendelson wrote Friday on Twitter.