The Health Care bill in 90 seconds
I'll take jail. 3 hots and a cot, free health care and no taxes.

If you think this is bad, here in Portland Maine they are trying to give immigrants (mostly Somali mohams that are shooting each other in the streets) the right to vote...

Non-Citizens Lobby For Voting Rights In Portland
02/19/2010  Reported By: Josie Huang

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The city of Portland is considering changing its charter so that it would, among other things, allow non-citizens to vote in municipal elections. Doing so would make Portland one of only a handful of places nationwide to extend voting rights to legal immigrants.
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Non-Citizens Lobby For Voting Rights In Portland Listen

Portland has seen an influx of immigrants in the last decade, predominantly from Africa, and the issue particularly resonates with younger immigrants such as Mohamed Dini. With the voting rights coming up at City Hall next week, the 24-year-old hit the streets with other college students from his native Somalia, trying to build support in the immigrant community.

"Hello, How you doing? is Kalayu here?"

Kalayu Halefym, a parking attendant and local Ethiopian leader, comes to the door.

"Hi, how you doing, Kalayu? We knocking on many doors of house. Bascially we are fighting for is for legal immigrants to vote to have a right to vote in local elections, here, you know?"

Dini asks him if he's a citizen.

Halefym: "No, we're not."
Dini: "That's what w're looking for. People like you. How many kids do you have in the public schools?"
Halefym: "I have three."
Dini: "Three, and you work."
Halefym: "Yes"
DINI: "And you pay tax?
Halefym: "Yes."
DINI: If you pay your tax, your voice must be represented.""

Dini, a political science major at the University of Southern Maine, says this is keeping in line with the views of the country's founders, who fought the British on the basis of taxation without representation.

Dini isn't seeking voting rights for himself. He emigrated to the US as a teenager and is a citizen. But other immigrants must wait at least three years to seek citizenship, and then there are hurdles such as fees and language. Dini says he knows of people who waited more than a dozen years to become naturalized. In the meantime, Dini says, they have no say in city leadership.

"They want to have voice in the school. You're kid will be told to study Spanish when they know three other languages. How do you let your kids study spanish and they're failing math, chemistry. That's why we're caand we can be part of our community better", says Dini.

But that argument has not sold all 12 members of the city's Charter Commission.
Commisioner Richard Ranaghan, Jr., who represents Portland's outlying suburbs, says he will vote against the measure.

"Federal state elections you need to be a citizen. I think in Portland you also need to be a citizen."

Ranaghan says non-citizens can make themselves heard at council meetings, or by campaigning for a favored candidate.

He believes immigrants need to earn the right to vote by passing the naturalization exam, which tests one's understanding of English, and U.S. history and government.

"Many of these folks may not understand the folks that are running and what they're running for and I think there's always a concern about that, and they get their civics lesson before they become citizens", says Ranaghan.

Fellow Charter Commissioner Anna Trevorrow, who introduced the voting proposal, says that's not a reason to keep non-citizens from the polls.

"Whether you're a citizen, you have to educate yourself on what's going to be on the ballot and there are probably a lot of people who show up at the polls and don't know what they're met with when they go into the ballot booth", says Trevorrow.

Trevorrow, who also chairs the state's Maine Green Independent party, says that immigrants who have difficulty with English could seek help from community members at the polls.

She says every effort should be made to integrate immigrants in the community. It's not only good for the immigrants, but for the city as a whole.

"I think anything we can do to expand democracy in the city, to educate our public about the needs of all the members of our community would be advantageous to all of us."

If Portland does allow non-citizen voting, it will join a tiny club.
Chicago and six municipalities in Maryland allow it. So have three communities in Massachusetts- Newton, Amherst and Cambridge -- though the law in that state requires permission from the Legislature, which is divided on the issue.

What has been forgotten is that non-citizens were allowed to vote up until 1926, says Ron Hayduk, author of the book, Democracy for All.

"Forty states and territories allowed non-citizens to vote in not just local elx but anla slstatse and fe'dl elx and non-citizens could run for office and did. So for the first 150 years of American history that the majority of United States History, that was common practice."

Hayduk, who teaches political science at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, says that anti-immigant backlash around World War I led to a repeal in voting rights for immigrants.

But he thinks there will be a resurgence in reinstating these voting rights because of the increase in immigrants and growing support among politicians. In 45 countries, mostly in Europe, non-citizens have some voting rights.

"Also, it has a lot to do with the global world we're living in. The idea that political rights, human rights should pervade in various jurisdictions is gaining traction ."

Hayduk says that there are at least a dozen other places considering voting rights for non-citizens including San Franciso and New York.

In Portland, the commission will take a prelimnary vote next Thursday on whether to recommend including non-citizen voting in the charter. If so, Portland residents will likely vote on the measure on Election Day in November.
This is the first step to allowing illegals to vote and having the Democrats in office forever.


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