Below is my prepared public comment before the North Carolina House Election Law and Campaign Finance Reform Committee on June 5, 2024, in support of House Bill 1074, Constitutional Amendment/Citizens-Only Voting.

I am Andy Jackson with the John Locke Foundation.

I speak in favor of House Bill 1074, the constitutional amendment for citizens-only voting in North Carolina.

Who possesses the right to influence policy in our state through voting is a fundamental question that should be unambiguously addressed in our constitution.

The North Carolina State Constitution currently states, “Every person born in the United States and every person who has been naturalized” can vote. The problem is that while the current language affirms the voting rights of most adult citizens, it is silent on whether noncitizens can vote.

North Carolina law currently limits voter registration to citizens. However, temporary legislative or judicial majorities that seek to “reshape local politics forever” can brush aside those protections. A constitutional amendment stating unequivocally that “only a citizen of the United States” may vote would protect that understanding.

If you believe that the current language in the state constitution prevents anyone who was neither born in the United States nor naturalized from voting, you have problems of your own.

There is another group of American citizens who are not included in that language: natural-born citizens who were born outside the United States. That group includes senators Tammy Duckworth (born in Thailand) and Ted Cruz (born in Canada). That group also includes hip-hop star and organizer of the Raleigh Dreamville music festival J. Cole, who is an American citizen but was neither born in the United States nor nationalized. He is a natural-born American who was born in Germany.

No matter how you interpret the voting clause of the North Carolina Constitution, the language needs to be clarified to affirm that only qualified United States citizens may vote.

Thank you.

Due to a one-minute time limit for speakers, I was unable to say all my prepared remarks. A recording of that comment has been posted on X.

The committee approved the proposed amendment. If the bill passes with a 3/5 majority in the state House and Senate, it will go to a vote of the people in the November election.

You can find more information on why a citizen-only voting amendment is needed and the broad public support for such an amendment.