Debate set on Portland noncitizen voting proposal

Posted Nov. 01, 2010, at 6:05 a.m.
Last modified Nov. 01, 2010, at 10:50 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The proposal on Portland’s Nov. 2 ballot to give legal residents who are not U.S. citizens the right to vote in local elections will be the subject of a debate Monday.

The election-eve exchange will be held at Bates College in Lewiston. Andrew Ian Dodge, the Maine Coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, will debate Ben Chin of the Maine People’s Alliance.

Supporters say noncitizens hold down jobs, pay taxes, own businesses, volunteer in the community and serve in the military, so it’s only fair they be allowed to vote. San Francisco and Chicago are among the places that have loosened the rules or are considering it.

Opponents say immigrants already have an avenue to cast ballots by becoming citizens. They say allowing noncitizens to vote dilutes the meaning of citizenship and could lead to fraud or skew elections.

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