I disagree with your editorial, ”Only citizens should have the right to vote” (Feb. 11).

The path to citizenship is long, expensive and requires extensive paperwork and at least five years of residency. I applaud those who have made their way through the red tape, but it is not as simple as swearing an oath.

Many legal residents of the United States work for years to conquer the bureaucracy.

But what of those years, sometimes decades, when they pay excise tax on their cars, property tax on their homes and send their children to schools to which they have no official say?

Issues like taxes and other local concerns affect everyone. Portland’s plan for enfranchising the legal resident community does not extend to federal or state issues and will begin to help break down the mutual mistrust between both city officials and legal residents.

If legal residents want to be involved in the system which governs them and to which they pay taxes like all other residents do, I fully support them.

The government needs to encourage more people to participate, not fewer.


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