Voters at a polling station in Cambridge, Mass. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Officials in Boston are considering whether to allow noncitizens living in the U.S. legally to vote in municipal elections — such as for mayor, council members, and other local officials — in one of the latest attempts to grant voting rights to immigrants.

Why it matters: This comes as the immigration debate is getting more divisive across the country, and it will likely draw new anti-immigration sentiments to the polls. And while Boston's push to expand voting rights to non-U.S. citizens seems like a surprising one, 40 states had allowed noncitizens to vote in local and federal elections from 1776 until the 1920s, according to Ron Hayduk, a political scientist at San Francisco State University.

The details: The move in Boston, spearheaded by Council President Andrea Campbell, will be the subject of a council committee hearing on Tuesday.

  • Campbell, in a Twitter post on Monday, cautioned that “Tomorrow is just a conversation, not a vote on an ordinance. I can no longer only go to rallies or send resolutions to Trump; what can we DO at the local level to support our immigrants? The discussion will include voting & OTHER possibilities.”
  • The measure would have to go through a home-rule petition and needs approval from the council, mayor, state Legislature and governor in order change the law, the Boston Herald notes.

Be smart: Noncitizens are prohibited from voting in federal and statewide elections under federal law, but states and municipalities are allowed to set their own policies.

The backdrop: College Park, Maryland will became the largest U.S. city to allow noncitizens to vote in local elections starting in 2019 through a law passed by the Council last year, per the Washington Post. Undocumented immigrants and student visa holders will also be allowed to vote.

Go deeper

Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid

President Trump speaking during a press conference on Aug. 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday signed four executive actions to provide relief from economic damage sustained during the coronavirus pandemic after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate federal spending, Trump has limited authority to act unilaterally — and risks a legal challenge if congressional Democrats believe he has overstepped.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 19,451,097 — Total deaths: 722,835 — Total recoveries — 11,788,665Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2. p.m. ET: 4,968,413 — Total deaths: 161,858 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective.
  4. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  5. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.
4 hours ago - World

What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.