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Citizenship amendment on North Carolina ballots this fall

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(The Center Square) – North Carolina voters in November can amend the state constitution with stronger language to ensure citizenship in the United States is required to vote.

A message from the office of President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said the state’s citizen voter provision “is not as strongly written as other states, and with Democrats seeking to give hundreds of thousands of noncitizens voting rights, there can be no room for doubt.”

House Bill 1074 would amend Section 1 of Article VI of the North Carolina Constitution to read, in part, “Only a citizen of the United States who is …” Today, the section on who may vote begins, “Every person born in the United States and every person who has been naturalized …”

Proponents say what has happened in some municipalities, with legal voting rights given to noncitizens, is part of the impetus for change. It is called a dilution of the power in people’s vote. Critics say the move is suppressive, makes the state unwelcoming to immigrants and puts fear in voters.

Simply majority is needed for passage. Gubernatorial veto is not possible.

Past amendments, such as photo voter identification, pushed by Republicans have often languished under a “sue until it’s blue” strategy of the rival party. That one, for example, was passed in 2018 with 55.5% of nearly 3.7 million voters in favor.

Six years later, the Super Tuesday primary three months ago was its debut.

A joint statement from Republican Sens. Brad Overcash of Gaston County, Buck Newton of Wilson County and Warren Daniel of Burke County said, “President Joe Biden has been asleep at the wheel the past four years, letting millions of people illegally cross the border into our country. Now, as voters are fleeing the Democratic party in droves, Democrats are seeking to fill the gap by extending voting rights to noncitizens. To combat this movement, we are empowering North Carolinians to approve a constitutional amendment to make it crystal clear that our elections are for U.S. citizens only.”

To wit, 20 years ago unaffiliated voters in the state trailed Democrats 47.6%-17.7% of the more than 5 million registered. The state’s population has increased 26.7% since Jan. 1, 2004 to 10.8 million. And, the voting bloc split of more than 7.5 million registered is 37.3% unaffiliated, 31.9% Democrats and 30% Republicans.

The proposal was filed by Rep. Destin Hall, R-Caldwell, chairman of the Rules Committee in the House of Representatives.

“Tightening our elections laws so that only U.S. citizens are voting in this country ensures that those making decisions about our country’s future have a vested interest in its well-being,” Hall said in a release. “Voting is a fundamental right and privilege reserved for citizens of the United States, and I am proud to support this effort to ensure the integrity of our elections.”

The proposal comes as American borders become more porous and people from dozens of countries around the world flood into the continental 48. Through government data, sourced reporting by The Center Square, and acknowledgments of lawmen and inclusion of gotaways, an estimated 11 million people have entered or are living in the country illegally since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.

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