Col­lege Park made the right call

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION - let­ters@wash­post.com

Re­gard­ing the Sept. 14 Metro ar­ti­cle “Nonci­t­i­zens al­lowed to vote in Md. ju­ris­dic­tion”:

The Col­lege Park mayor and City Coun­cil are set­ting an ex­am­ple for the rest of the na­tion by grant­ing res­i­dents the right to vote in lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions re­gard­less of im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus. Aspir­ing Amer­i­cans of vot­ing age de­serve to have their voices heard when it comes to is­sues that af­fect their daily lives.

Seven ju­ris­dic­tions, in­clud­ing six in Mary­land, al­ready al­low aspir­ing Amer­i­cans to vote in lo­cal elec­tions and none has ex­pe­ri­enced in­ci­dents of vot­ing fraud in fed­eral elec­tions. Nonci­t­i­zens en­joyed the right to vote in lo­cal and statewide elec­tions in 22 states un­til the 1920s.

As this com­mu­nity of pri­mar­ily hard-work­ing and law-abid­ing tax­pay­ers con­tin­ues to grow in Col­lege Park and na­tion­wide, our elected lead­ers should en­sure they have the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in our democracy.

I was forced to flee a bloody civil war in El Sal­vador at the age of 13, be­came a U.S. cit­i­zen and joined the U.S. Navy. Ex­tend­ing vot­ing rights to nonci­t­i­zen res­i­dents in my Col­lege Park com­mu­nity is ex­actly what democracy should look like, and it’s ex­actly the kind of free­dom I served our na­tion to pro­tect.

Jaime Con­tr­eras, Col­lege Park

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