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Can Immigrants Vote in the Presidential Election?

Many Americans and immigrants agree that the 2016 election will be a historical one. With immigration being a hot topic among the candidates, it’s understandable why immigrants would desire to line up at the polls this election.

Here in Texas, we have a large immigrant population just like Arizona and California. That said, thousands of immigrants in Texas are asking the question, “Will I be able to vote during the 2016 presidential election?” This is a very good question indeed and the answer is, “It depends on your immigration status.”

Have you become a naturalized citizen? If you are now a U.S. citizen, you have the same rights to vote as any other U.S. citizen. In fact, as a naturalized U.S. citizen, you have the SAME voting privileges as someone who was born in the U.S. so long as you meet the following requirements:

  • You are a United States citizen,
  • You have lived in Texas for a period of time (generally 30 days),
  • You will be at least 18 years old on election day,
  • You have not been convicted of a disqualifying felony, unless your civil rights have been restored through the courts, and
  • A court has not declared you “mentally incompetent.”

The above voting requirements apply to everyone, not only naturalized U.S. citizens. For example, even a natural-born U.S. citizen won’t be able to vote if they are under 18, declared mentally incompetent by a court, or convicted of a disqualifying felony.

Can permanent residents (green card holders) vote?

If you are a permanent resident (a green card holder), you will not be able to vote in the presidential election because you have to be a U.S. citizen to vote for a president, and the same goes for other elections limited to U.S. citizens.

However, there are some local and state elections that green card holders can vote in that do not require U.C. citizenship.

Note: Before you register to vote, be sure to double check the requirements very carefully because you can face serious penalties if you vote in an election where you do not meet the citizenship requirements. Such penalties can include fines, imprisonment, and even deportation.

Looking for a Plano immigration attorney? Contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC today!