I came across this story the other day about New York City considering allowing green card and visa holders to vote in municipal elections. The story also noted several cities in Maryland and Massachusetts allow non-citizens to vote. Apparently this was the case many states until the 1930’s. Intrigued, I decided to read up on the issue a little more, and this paper by Jamin Raskin caught my attention. According to Raskin’s research, alien suffrage was common in the early United States and was part of the Northwest Ordinance, which was reenacted in 1789 by the First Congress. The Annals of Congress for this time show no debate on the issue in either the Senate or the House. Just some interesting history I learned this week that I thought I’d pass along.
The Briscoe Center (and others) are hosting a panel at UT Law tonight about the legacy of the Dirty Thirty:
In 1971, a group of Texas lawmakers, known as the Dirty Thirty, called for an investigation of then Speaker of the House Gus Mutscher and other state officials named in a federal bribery-conspiracy case. This small band of reformers turned the federal case into a political issue, sparked a movement to limit the influence of special interest in the Legislature and inspired Frances “Sissy” Farenthold’s run for governor in 1972. More than 40 years later, the experiences of the Dirty Thirty still offer a lesson in political reform.
Join two members of the Dirty Thirty, Sissy Farenthold and Tom Bass, legal strategist Terry O’Rourke and ‘Observer’ founding editor Ronnie Dugger for a discussion about the legacy of the reform movement and its impact on Texas politics today.
Details here. Wish I could go.