Assembly candidate proposes letting non-citizens vote

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SAN DIEGO — A San Diego Assembly candidate Tuesday proposed allowing non-citizen residents to vote in state and local elections and lowering the voting age to 16.

Louis J. Marinelli said requiring voters to be U.S. citizens is contrary to what the nation stands for.

“This country was founded upon the principle of no taxation without representation,” Marinelli said. “Today in California we have millions of non- citizen residents who pay income and sales taxes, yet are not allowed to choose their representatives in Sacramento.

“That is taxation without representation and if we are to continue collecting taxes from the millions of non-citizen taxpayers residing in California, we must extend them the right to vote”

Federal law prohibits non-citizens from voting in federal elections but does not prohibit them from voting in state elections, Marinelli said.

Marinelli said his proposal also includes lowering the voting age to 16 because “if we are serious about change we need to expand the voter pool.”

“If the same limited number of people go out and vote in every election, we’re going to essentially see the same results in every election,” Marinelli said. “You want change? Get more people to vote. That’s what this legislation achieves.”

Marinelli said he understands people may be wary of granting 16-year- olds the right to vote but said if they are mature enough to drive and drop out of high school they are mature enough to say who they want to be the governor.

“What a great way to instill a sense of civic duty at a young age. Bernie Sanders’ political revolution is proof that our youth can be engaged in this process and we should encourage that,” Marinelli said referring to the Vermont said who is the overwhelming choice among young voters to be the Democratic presidential nominee.

Marinelli is among two candidates challenging 80th District Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, in the June 7 primary. The district encompasses the southern parts of urban San Diego County and includes City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, Chula Vista and National City.

Marinelli is chairman of the California National Party, which seeks to establish the country of California independent of the United States. Because the party does not have enough registered voters to qualify for the ballot, Marinelli will be listed on the ballot as having no party preference.

Marinelli was the proponent of initiatives that would have created an advisory group to explore establishing California’s autonomy from the United States; required a vote every four years on whether California should become a separate nation; changing the governor’s title to president of California; requiring the display of the California flag above the U.S. flag; banning out- of-state contributions to California election campaigns; and taxing bottled water containing any water collected in California.

All failed to qualify for the ballot.

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