Opinion: This naturalized American citizen is voting ‘yes’ on 76

Vera Ortegon
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

Perhaps the proudest day of my life was November 18, 1977, the day I became an American citizen. My American dream began in Barranquilla, Colombia and continues today as a proud citizen of Pueblo, Colorado – USA!

My journey is like so many other naturalized American citizens who weren’t blessed to be born here, but rather chose this country and did the work to apply, wait, pass the US Civics Citizenship Test and then register to vote. 

Now, efforts are underway across the country to let non-citizens legally vote in this country. This is a slap in the face to every naturalized American citizen, who came here legally and sacrificed to earn our citizenship and our right to vote. 

Kamala Harris’s California, Bernie Sanders’ Vermont, Barack Obama’s Illinois, Elizabeth Warren’s Massachusetts, Michael Bloomberg’s New York and elsewhere are allowing or are trying to allow non-citizens to legally vote. In fact, Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco spent $300,000 of taxpayer money last year to encourage non-citizens to register to vote!

Maryland has 11 cities allowing non-citizens to legally vote. Efforts in Boston, New York City, Portland are underway. There are even efforts in Johnson County, Iowa. Would anyone be surprised if Boulder was next?

The Left is calling non-citizen voting “the newest civil right.”  To me, this sounds crazy, but it’s really happening. 

How is this possible?

Surprisingly, the US Constitution and every state constitution – with the exception of Arizona and North Dakota – does not specifically require citizenship to vote. Each of these state constitutions – Colorado‘s constitution included – say nearly the same thing – “Every citizen of the United States shall be an elector…”

This language tells us only who can, but not who can’t legally vote.  Looking at a dictionary definition of the word “citizen” is very illuminating. A “citizen” is merely defined as a resident of a city or town. It’s the loophole being used in the states currently allowing non-citizens to legally vote. They want to extend the right to vote to every resident—whether they are a citizen or not!  That’s why we need to vote Yes on #76 – The Colorado Citizen Voters Amendment. 

YES on #76 strikes the words “Every Citizen…” and inserts the words “ONLY A CITIZEN…”  so the state constitution will say, “Only a Citizen of the United States shall be an elector…”

That’s the entire amendment. Just 3 words.

North Dakota overwhelmingly passed their North Dakota Citizen Voters Amendment at last November’s election. Now, it’s Colorado’s turn. 

I am honored to be a Co-Chair of the YES on #76 campaign, to ensure Colorado elections are ONLY for a Colorado citizens!

For me, three days particularly stand out in my journey as an American – the day I arrived, the day I became a citizen, and the day I first voted, which was for presidential candidate Ronald Reagan. That vote was earned!

Isn’t it time Colorado’s elections were constitutionally limited to Colorado’s citizens? It’s time for the Colorado Citizen Voters Amendment.

Vera Ortegon is the a co-chairperson of the Yes on #76 campaign.

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