A federal judge is allowing a coalition of 15 states and the District of Columbia to be defendants in a lawsuit seeking to exclude noncitizens from being counted in the run-up to the re-allocation of congressional seats.
Last year the state of Alabama and one of its Republican congressmen, Mo Brooks, sued the Trump administration, arguing that the counting of undocumented immigrants in census figures used for determining reapportionment unfairly benefits states with higher numbers of noncitizens.
Alabama contends that counting the whole population — the practice used for apportionment since Congess began — rather than just citizens will cost the state one of its seven House seats (and therefore one of its electoral votes) following the 2020 census tally.
The Alabama legislature has cleared a bill that would amend the state constitution to clarify who is allowed to vote. The Republican-written measure, which will require voter approval in November 2020, would change the constitution to say "only a citizen of the United States" rather than "every citizen of the U.S." has the right to vote in one of the reddest states in the country.
This is one of the first statewide referendums set for next year. Joshua Jones of Citizen Voters, which is promoting the idea, says the measure is needed to ensure that only American citizens are allowed to vote. While federal law prohibits non-citizens from voting in congressional and presidential elections, some communities – including San Francisco – have expanded voting to non-citizens in certain local elections.
Voters in North Dakota approved a similar constitutional amendment in 2018 and comparable initiatives are being proposed in Colorado and Florida.