Immigrants Rally for Right To Vote

Braving stiff winds that threatened to topple their multilingual signs and banners, nearly 200 Cantabrigians rallied on the steps of City Hall yesterday, asking the City Council to support extending the right to vote in School Committee elections to immigrants.

The voting rights campaign, which was initiated by the Eviction Free Zone, a tenant group, is currently seeking the approval of the council through a petition that has been endorsed by five of the eight councillors. The state legislature has the final say.

"This is a no-brainer," said Councillor Marjorie C. Decker. "We have people paying taxes, sending their children to our schools. We want their vote to have a voice on what our schools look like."

"When immigrants have the right to vote, we will have a better, stronger community," she added.

Massachusetts state representative Jarrett T. Barrios '90 said he fully supports extending voting rights to immigrants.

"We are letting the City Council know today that immigrants deserve the right to vote in school elections," Barrios said at the rally.

The School Committee itself has already expressed its approval, with a five-to-two vote in favor of expanding the franchise.

"We want a blow of social change that will blow away the barriers keeping immigrants from voting," said School Committee member E. Denise Simmons, speaking to the crowd as high winds whipped into pro-vote banners.