Amendment 76: Citizenship Qualification Of Voters, Explained

October 12, 2020

Amendment 76 would change the language in the state constitution to explicitly state that only U.S. citizens can vote in elections.

A 55 percent majority of the vote is required for the amendment to pass.

Colorado's constitution currently says that “every citizen” may vote — the amendment would change it to say that “only citizens” may vote.

Non-citizen voting is not currently allowed in any state or federal election.

Supporters argue that the language needs strengthening and point to a handful of cities in other states that allow non-citizens to vote in some local elections. For example, non-citizens have been allowed to vote in San Francisco school board races since 2018. Joe Stengel, the registered agent for Initiative 76, has claimed, without providing any evidence, that non-citizens already are voting in Colorado, despite the existing laws.

Opponents say this would accomplish little in practice. Some Democrats complain the effort is a distraction or a way to draw conservatives to the polls in 2020. Additionally, Mark Grueskin, a top elections attorney for Democrats and left-leaning causes, has said that the phrasing of Initiative 76 wouldn’t actually stop a city from allowing non-citizen voting.

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