NYC Council passes bill giving voting rights to non-citizens

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Friday, December 10, 2021
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NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The New York City Council approved a bill Thursday that lets non-U.S. citizens vote in citywide elections.

The bill -- which allows some 900,000 residents to vote in races for mayor, public advocate, borough president and city council -- was passed 33-14 with two abstentions.

Under the bill, people who have lived in the city for at least 30 days and are legal permanent residents in the United States would be allowed to vote.

That includes DACA recipients, green card holders and people with workers permits.

Dozens of supporters rallied on the steps of City Hall before the vote, including council member Ydanis Rodriguez, who introduced the bill.

"This is important not only for the city of New York," Rodriguez said. "There are so many people in Texas and other places that they want to push our society back."

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The measure will take effect on January 1 and will make New York the largest jurisdiction in the country to expand voting rights to non-citizens.

Eligible non-citizens would be able to start registering to vote on December 9, 2022, and once registered, could begin voting in local elections as of January 9, 2023. The bill would also create an advisory group to provide recommendations regarding the implementation of this new municipal voting system.

The New York City Board of Elections is now in charge of figuring out how this will be implemented ahead of 2023, the city's next local election.

Noncitizens will register using different voter registration cards and will vote using a separate ballot on Election Day.

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released the following statement regarding New York City allowing non-citizens to vote in municipal elections:

"American citizens should decide American elections -- full stop," she said. "Today's decision in New York is the product of a radical, power-hungry Democrat Party that will stop at nothing to undermine election integrity. Allowing our elections to be decided by foreign citizens is unacceptable, and the RNC is looking closely at our legal options as we continue our fight to protect your ballot."

NYGOP Chairman Nick Langworthy also released a statement.

"Today's irresponsible vote by New York City Democrats to give the sacred right to vote to over 800,000 non-citizens is a dangerous attack on our election integrity," he said. "We are now on a slippery slope toward illegal immigrants voting and foreign interference in our elections. We will fight, using every legal means necessary, to prevent this legislation from becoming law. Stay tuned for further announcements about our legal action."

Just before the vote, during a fierce debate, critics of the controversial bill tried to send it back to committee while supporters fought to get it passed.

"We shouldn't be diluting the value of citizenship," City Councilman David Carr said. "Citizenship is something strive for."

He doesn't believe it is legal.

"I'm confident the courts are going to do a plain text reading of the state's constitution and throw it out," he said.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio had expressed mixed feelings but stopped short of threatening a veto.

"I think there are still some outstanding legal questions about the city's authority versus the state's in this matter," he said. "But I respect the City Council."

Mayor-elect Eric Adams agrees with the bill's concept but still has some questions.

'I'm concerned with aspects of it," he said. "Voting is a right. We should always encourage people to be citizens."


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