Ban on voting by noncitizens in Georgia introduced

November 2, 2021 Atlanta: Voters surge the machine first thing in the morning at Park Tavern located at 500 10th Street NE in Atlanta on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Normally, a wide-open vote for Atlanta mayor would take center stage in the metro area on Election Day. But low early turnout, a high number of undecided voters, and major competition for attention from Game Six of the World Series could scramble the outcome. Voting began Tuesday morning in elections for Atlanta mayor and city leaders across Georgia as voters hoped for short lines and no problems. Election Day will be closely watched in Fulton County, which covers most of the city of Atlanta. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)
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November 2, 2021 Atlanta: Voters surge the machine first thing in the morning at Park Tavern located at 500 10th Street NE in Atlanta on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Normally, a wide-open vote for Atlanta mayor would take center stage in the metro area on Election Day. But low early turnout, a high number of undecided voters, and major competition for attention from Game Six of the World Series could scramble the outcome. Voting began Tuesday morning in elections for Atlanta mayor and city leaders across Georgia as voters hoped for short lines and no problems. Election Day will be closely watched in Fulton County, which covers most of the city of Atlanta. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

State law already limits voting to citizens

A resolution introduced Monday would make the state’s ban on voting by noncitizens part of the Georgia Constitution.

Senate President Pro Tem Butch Miller, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, proposed a constitutional amendment that says only U.S. citizens who are residents of Georgia are allowed to vote. State law already prohibits voting by noncitizens.

The election-year proposal would put the question on the ballot for voters to decide. It’s the latest attempt to prohibit voting by noncitizens after similar legislation in previous years failed to advance.

Miller, who represents the Gainesville area, faces a primary challenge from state Sen. Burt Jones, a Republican from Jackson.

Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who is also up for reelection, previously called for a constitutional amendment to bar noncitizen voting. The leading Republican candidates opposing Raffensperger are U.S. Rep. Jody Hice and former Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle.

Allegations of noncitizen voting in Georgia are rare. The State Election Board last year levied a $500 fine on a Gwinnett County woman who wasn’t a U.S. citizen when she voted in 2012 and 2016.

The Georgia Constitution says that citizens are entitled to vote. The proposed amendment, Senate Resolution 363, would change the constitution’s language to say that only citizens can vote. An identical measure introduced last year, House Resolution 56, is pending in the state House.

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