PORTLAND — A group of city residents this morning took out petitions aimed at giving non-citizens the right to vote in city elections.

Members of a five-member committee met at 10 a.m. at City Hall and signed affidavits initiating a petition. To put the question to voters in November, the committee must gather the signatures of about 4,500 registered Portland voters by July 14.

The petition would force a referendum on giving voting rights to non-citizens who can prove they are legal residents. It would not allow non-citizens to hold public office.

The effort to start a petition drive began this month, after the Portland Charter Commission voted 7-5 to reject a proposal to put the issue on the ballot in November.

The petition committee includes Jenna Vendil, a member of the Portland School Committee; former state senator Michael Brennan, Mohammed Dini, president of the Somali Student Association at the University of Southern Maine; and Alfred Jacob, a Sudanese-American who is director of the Portland United soccer league.

People who circulate the petitions are required to be registered Portland voters.


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