New York Moves to Allow 800000 Non-Citizens to Vote in Local Elections


The New York City Council will vote on a bill allowing green-card holders and residents with working visas to vote in local elections on December 9th.

The measure, which has the support of 34 of 51 council members, a veto-proof majority, would allow around 808,000 New York City residents who have work permits or are legitimate permanent residents to vote.

The measure was initially submitted two years ago, but it has yet to be passed due to legal issues. At a hearing on the bill in September, Laura Wood, the mayor’s Chief Democracy Officer, warned the measure might violate the New York State Constitution, which says that voters must be US citizens aged 18 or older.

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The bill’s sponsor, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, a Democrat who represents Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood, told the New York Times, “It’s important for the Democratic Party to look at New York City and see that when voting rights are being attacked, we are expanding voter participation.” Rodriguez was born in the Dominican Republic and emigrated to the United States in the year 2000.

Following the September hearing, Mayor Law de Blasio hinted that he would reject the bill.

“We’ve done all we can to support immigrant New Yorkers—including illegal people—but…I don’t believe it’s lawful,” de Blasio said at the time on WNYC radio.

“Nothing is more important in a democracy than the freedom to vote and to choose who represents you and your community in elected government,” Adams said. “At the moment, nearly one million New Yorkers are denied this basic right.”

Mayor-elect Eric Adams, on the other hand, spoke in favor of the measure at a hearing in September.

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