PORTLAND, Ore. (TND) — Voters in deep blue Portland, Oregon rejected a ballot measure that would have given noncitizens the right to vote in local elections.
Multnomah County, which covers much of Portland, sought to amend its charter with the support of voters during Tuesday’s midterms.
Among the major proposed changes to the county’s charter were the new noncitizen voting rules, replacing gender binary pronouns with gender-neutral ones and the implementation of ranked-choice voting in future elections.
Each of those measures passed except the one allowing non-citizens to vote. Only 46% supported it, while 54% voted against it.
READ MORE: “Multnomah County voters approving ranked-choice voting”
County officials admitted prior to Tuesday's midterms that the language adopted in the measure was purposefully very broad, considering it was a “legal gray area,” and that it would likely face legal challenges.
We wanted to ensure that we’re able to figure out what is to the fullest extent legally possible,” Samantha Gladu, a member of the county’s Charter Review Committee, said, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Multnomah County’s move to extend voting rights to noncitizens follows similar actions taken by other major municipalities.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams allowed legislation to pass shortly after he took office this year that green-lit the city’s roughly 800,000 noncitizens and “Dreamers” to vote in local elections. However, the law was ultimately overturned months later by a state Supreme Court judge, according to Reuters.
READ MORE: “NYC mayor allows legislation permitting roughly 800,000 noncitizens to vote”
Earlier this summer, San Francisco’s law allowing noncitizens to vote in certain local elections, which was passed in 2016, was overturned by a judge as well, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. However, upon appeal, a state judge allowed the rule to stay intact during Tuesday’s midterms.
Noncitizens are also allowed vote in certain local elections in Chicago, according to NPR Illinois.
Additionally, several towns surrounding the nation’s capital, such as Hyattsville and Takoma Park in Maryland, already have laws on the books allowing noncitizens to vote.
Oakland voters also saw a ballot measure similar to the one that failed in Multnomah County during the Tuesday midterms. However, the vote count still remains too close to call as of Wednesday, according to The Chronicle.