Posted on February 5, 2023

Proposed CT Constitutional Amendment Would Give Immigrants Right to Vote in Local Elections

Maricarmen Cajahuaringa, Connecticut Public Radio, February 1, 2023

A bill has been proposed in the Connecticut legislature that would allow immigrants, both documented and undocumented, the right to vote in municipal and state elections.

The proposal, H.J. No. 12, suggests amending the Connecticut Constitution to grant voting rights to the estimated 240,000 immigrants currently living in the state, of which roughly 120,000 are undocumented immigrants.

Representative Juan Candelaria, D-New Haven, who is sponsoring the bill, said there is a need for the community to have an active voice in the democratic process and community life.

“You have families that have lived here, although undocumented, been here for 20, 30 years,” Candelaria said. “Their children are here, they contribute to our economy, and their children go out of our schools. They work in our restaurants and our factories—all over. Why not give them a voice?”

Candelaria emphasized that there would still be requirements for undocumented immigrants to qualify for voting, such as residency requirements. “Probably five to ten years within the state,” Candelaria said. Also, background checks to verify the undocumented person doesn’t have any offenses or felonies.

But only some people seem eager with Candelaria’s proposal. Those opposing the amendment argue that the voting process is a privilege for people who’ve gone through the established legal process to become U.S. citizens.


Candelaria argues that opposition to the bill comes from a “bunch of people that have this negative energy, and this hate towards specifically Latinos. Let’s say it! Because we are here.” Then he added, “I’m tired of it, to be honest with you. We’re humans. We’re here, and we’re here to stay, like it or not.”


According to Ballotpedia, as of December 2022, sixteen municipalities across the country allowed non-citizens to vote in local elections. Eleven were in Maryland, two in Vermont, and two in California. In 2022 New York City’s Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzio struck down the ordinance that would have allowed around 800,000 non-citizens to vote in their local elections.

Candelaria said there are groups in New Haven supporting the bill and has had colleges approach him with curiosity. {snip}