The North Carolina Speaker of the House, Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, has filed legislation to amend the state constitution to allow citizens-only to vote in all elections. 

This legislation, HB 1074, is co-sponsored by Rep. Destin Hall, R-Caldwell, and House Majority Whip Rep. Karl Gillespie, R-Cherokee. Rep. Mike Clampitt, R-Jackson; Rep. Ben T. Moss, R-Moore; and Rep. Mitchell S. Setzer, R-Catawba, also signed onto the bill. 

“In order to preserve the democratic principles of our nation, it is imperative that we ensure the integrity of our elections. I am proud to sponsor this bill,” said Gillespie.

The legislation mirrors SB 630, which was filed in 2023 and Sen. Brad Overcash, R-Gaston, told the Carolina Journal that he intended to bring the bill back up for consideration this session.

“In North Carolina, we value the integrity of our elections and have put safeguards in place to ensure our elections are secure,” said Moore in a press release Thursday. “Recent efforts to allow non-citizens to vote would undermine the public’s confidence in our electoral system and leave the door open for chaos and election fraud to take hold. Preventing non-citizens from voting in our elections also helps maintain national sovereignty, as it prevents foreign influence from affecting the outcomes of American elections, and this amendment to our constitution would further strengthen election integrity in North Carolina.”

The North Carolina Constitution currently says that “Every person born in the United States and every person who has been naturalized, who is 18 years of age.”

The new language, as outlined in HB 1074, would read:

“Only a citizen of the United States who is 18 years of age and possessing the qualifications set out in this Article, shall be entitled to vote at any election by the people of the State, except as herein otherwise provided.”  

It is a subtle difference, but a potentially important one, says Dr. Andy Jackson, director of the Center for Public Integrity at the John Locke Foundation.

“There is some disagreement about whether the current language in the state Constitution prevents noncitizens from voting or only affirms that otherwise qualified citizens cannot be denied the right to vote.” Jackson told the Carolina Journal. “The language in the proposed amendment would make it clear that only American citizens are permitted to vote in any elections in North Carolina,”

Because the primary sponsors of H1074 includes the current House Speaker Tim Moore, who is currently running for Congress, and the presumptive next NC House Speaker, Destin Hall. Jackson says there is a strong likelihood that the amendment will pass the House.

“The Senate may be a tougher obstacle since there does not appear to be as much enthusiasm for the amendment in that chamber,” he added.

If this legislation is passed in the North Carolina General Assembly, it would be placed on November’s 2024 general election ballot so that voters can decide for themselves.

“Tightening our elections laws so that only U.S. citizens are voting in this country ensures that those making decisions about our country’s future have a vested interest in its well-being,” said Hall. “Voting is a fundamental right and privilege reserved for citizens of the United States, and I am proud to support this effort to ensure the integrity of our elections.”

A recent poll of likely North Carolina voters by the Remington Research Group showed that 89% believed that only US citizens should have the right to vote, and 87% would support a constitutional amendment clarifying that US citizens are eligible to vote in all North Carolina state and local elections. 

“Granting noncitizens the right to vote undermines the right of American citizens to exercise their authority to influence the government by diminishing the power of their votes,” wrote Jackson in a recent report.