COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The College Park City Council is considering allowing non-U.S. citizens to vote in local elections, but according to the city's mayor, threats have been made over the proposal.
At a council meeting Tuesday night, a vote on the controversial issue was postponed and the council has decided to discuss the topic on Sept. 5. They will then decide on whether to vote on the proposal or to put the issue on the ballot to let College Park voters have the final say on Sept. 12.
Earlier on Tuesday, College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn said an unnamed councilmember received a "very serious threat" that was made over the phone. The mayor said he also received several angry calls leading up to Tuesday night's meeting, noting that most of the callers were not residents of College Park.
There was an extra police presence at Tuesday's meeting due to the threats and an investigation has been launched by the Prince George’s County Police Department.
"Our Homeland Security Division is conducting the investigation,” said Prince George’s County Police Cpl. Nicole Hubbard. “Due to the threats, we will have increased presence of our officers present at the meeting tonight. Anyone who has a threat against them, anyone who feels violated, we want to feel safe and this is why we are taking these measures."
If the amendment were to be approved, lawmakers would then have to change the city charter.
Six other Maryland communities have already allowed non-citizens to vote in local elections.
Supporters of the proposal say that noncitizens should have a vote since they pay property taxes and contribute to the town's economy. They say local elections, which often focus on trash pickup and other municipal services, impact everyone regardless of citizenship.
Opponents of the move say voting is a right only U.S. citizens should have.