1st Edition

Democracy for All Restoring Immigrant Voting Rights in the U.S.

By Ron Hayduk Copyright 2006
    260 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    260 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Voting is for citizens only, right? Not exactly. It is not widely known that immigrants, or noncitizens, currently vote in local elections in over a half dozen cities and towns in the U.S.; nor that campaigns to expand the franchise to noncitizens have been launched in at least a dozen other jurisdictions from coast to coast over the past decade. These practices have their roots in another little-known fact: for most of the country's history - from the founding until the 1920s - noncitizens voted in forty states and federal territories in local, state, and even federal elections, and also held public office such as alderman, coroner, and school board member. Globally, over forty countries on nearly every continent permit voting by noncitizens. Legal immigrants, or resident aliens, pay taxes, own businesses and homes, send their children to public schools, and can be drafted or serve in the military, yet proposals to grant them voting rights are often met with great resistance. But, in a country where no taxation without representation was once a rallying cry for revolution, such a proposition may not, after all, be so outlandish.

    for All examines the politics and practices of noncitizen voting in the United States, chronicling the rise and fall - and re-emergence - of immigrant voting in the U.S. In addition to making the case for noncitizen voting, this book takes a close look at the politics of and actors in recent campaigns that successfully reestablished noncitizen voting, others that failed, and ones that are currently underway. Democracy for All explores the prospects for a truly universal suffrage in America.


    I. Introduction

    II. Rise and Fall of Immigrant Voting in U.S. History: 1776 to 1926

    III. The Return of Immigrant Voting: Demographic Change and Political Mobilization

    IV. The Case For Immigrant Voting Rights

    V. Contemporary Immigrant Voting: Maryland, New York, and Chicago

    VI. Campaigns to Restore Immigrant Voting Rights: California, New York, Washington D.C., and Massachusetts

    VII. The Future of Immigrant Voting

    Works Cited




    Hayduk, Ron

    "This is an immensely valuable and promising project...tackled in a serious and thorough way. This book has a chance to speak to a broad national audience in a clear and accessible manner." -- Jamin Raskin, author of Overruling Democracy
    "Democracy for All is the most thoroughgoing exploration we have of non-citizen voting in the United States, past and present. The issues raised by Hayduk's book - particularly at a time of high rates of immigration - ought to inform public debate in communities across the nation." -- Alexander Keyssar, Professor of History and Social Policy, Harvard University, and author of The Right to Vote
    "This passionately argued and thoroughly documented work is the best single study of whether to grant electoral rights to immigrant non-citizens. Hayduk carefully, clearly, and compellingly dissects the past, present, and future of one of our era's most important civil rights challenges." -- John Mollenkopf, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, City University Graduate Center
    "Millions of long-term non-citizen residents abide in the United States without any formal representation in its democratic political system. Hayduk provides a thorough, and much-needed brief outlining the history, contemporary status, and arguments for (and against) non-citizen voting in the U.S. An excellent source for an important question in American politics today." -- Michael Jones-Correa, Department of Government, Cornell University