NYC Council Asks Court To Let Non-Citizens Vote In Local Elections

By Johnny Mar27,2024

The New York City Council is asking New York’s highest court to reverse a pair of rulings in a move that could ultimately allow non-citizens to vote in local elections.

The controversial law would allow 800,000 non-citizens with green cards to vote.

“Today’s filing to appeal the Second Department’s recent decision seeks a determination from the state’s highest court that the law is consistent with the State Constitution, Election Law, and the Municipal Home Rule Law,” said City Council spokesperson Rendy Desamours.

“Empowering New Yorkers to participate in our local democratic process can only strengthen New York City by increasing civic engagement,” he said.

The election law has been winding its way through the court system since it was passed by the City Council back in 2021 and signed into law by then-Mayor Bill de Blasio (D).

Last month, the law was struck down as unconstitutional by an appeals court. The appeals court’s decision upheld a lower court’s ruling in 2022 that was appealed by Mayor Eric Adams and the City Council.

Adams, a Democrat, said at the beginning of 2022 that he had initially had some concerns about the bill, but that he was reassured after speaking with colleagues.

“I believe allowing the legislation to be enacted is by far the best choice, and look forward to bringing millions more into the democratic process,” Adams said at the time.

The appeals court judge wrote in his ruling last month that if non-citizens could vote, they could also potentially run for mayor.

Assemblyman Michael Tannousis, a Republican representing Staten Island, was one of the plaintiffs in that case.

“During a time where nearly 200,000 migrants have flooded our city and streets, disrupting the public and attacking our police officers, my colleagues and I have worked tirelessly to protect our voting laws which were created for citizens of the United States,” Tannousis said last month.

Illegal migrants would not be able to vote under the bill, but they remain a major concern for the city. More than 183,000 migrants have shown up in New York City since the spring of 2022, straining the city’s shelter space and causing budget cuts.

The City Council argues, however, that non-citizens in the U.S. legally, such as those with green cards, should be allowed to vote since they pay taxes.

“In plain English, the New York state constitution says only citizens have a right to vote in these elections,” said Staten Island President Vito Fossella, who filed the legal challenge to the law along with other lawmakers.

“The city council has no authority to do what they did,” Fossella said, adding that, “We are not surprised.”

Original article

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