MADISON – A proposal by state Representative Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna) to protect the sanctity of a citizen’s right to vote is now one step closer to heading to Wisconsin voters. Assembly Joint Resolution 54, which proposes an amendment to the state’s constitution to clarify that only U.S. citizens can vote in elections, was approved by an Assembly committee today and now heads to the full state Assembly for final approval.

“Voting is an iconic embodiment of American civic life,” Rep. Steineke said. “It is more than just providing input to elected officials – it also comes with great civic responsibility.”

Recently, a number of liberal cities across the country have moved to give non-citizens the right to vote. New York City, for example, announced more than 800,000 non-citizens will be able to participate in future local elections. This move disenfranchises thousands of legitimate voters and nearly undermines the entire concept of citizenship all together.

Steineke’s amendment seeks to prevent similar proposals from coming to Wisconsin. Currently, the state constitution provides that all United States citizens are qualified electors, or individuals able to participate in elections. However, it does not specify that only United States citizens can be eligible to vote. This resolution would clarify this ambiguity so that only citizens are able to be qualified electors and vote in elections. Constitutional amendments must pass the state Legislature twice during two different legislative sessions and be approved by voters during a general election referendum to become law.

“Amending the state constitution is a long, but necessary process,” Rep. Steineke concluded. “Being an American citizen should mean something and this important amendment underscores the fact that only citizens should be casting ballots in our elections.”

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