By Libby Emmo | Post Millenial
Photo credit: Shutterstock
York City's City Council approved a measure in January to give
non-citizens the right to vote in local elections. But after a suit was
brought by the GOP lawmakers, the New York Supreme Court ruled that no,
non-citizens do not have the right to vote.
plan would have added some 800,000 New Yorkers to the voting rolls, and
would have allowed them to vote for mayor, public advocate, city
council, borough presidents, and school boards.
Ralph Porzio said that the law was in direct violation of the New York
State Constitution. "The New York State Constitution expressly states
that citizens meeting the age and residency requirements are entitled to
register and vote in elections," he said.
voting is a right so many citizens take for granted, the City of New
York cannot 'obviate' the restrictions imposed by the Constitution,"
Porzio continued, going on to say that "the weight of the citizens’ vote
will be diluted by municipal voters and candidates and political
parties alike will need to reconfigure their campaigns."
bill allowed non-citizens to register in political parties and vote in
local elections if they hold green cards or have working visas. The only
additional requirement for non-citizens is that they have been
residents of New York City for a mere 30 days.
striking down the law, Porzio said that "Though Plaintiffs have not
suffered harm today, the harm they will suffer is imminent." The bill
was slated to go into effect for the 2023 election year.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was not in favor of the measure, but agreed to
sign the law anyway. Current Mayor Eric Adams was on board with the
bill, saying that while the bill might not be legal, green card holders
should get the vote. The idea was that because they were impacted by
local leaders, and were being taxed, they should also vote, despite that
being a right only for US citizens.
bill was touted by immigrant activists as necessary, because those
immigrant non-citizens pay taxes and should therefore be permitted to
Staten Island City Councilman Joe Borelli said of the ruling that:
decision validates those of us who can read the plain English words of
our state constitution and state statutes: Noncitizen voting in New York
is illegal, and shame on those who thought they could skirt the law for
political gain. Opposition to this measure was bipartisan and cut
across countless neighborhood and ethnic lines, yet progressives chose
to ignore both our constitution and public sentiment in order to suit
their aims. I commend the court in recognizing reality and reminding New
York's professional protestor class that the rule of law matters."
had opposed the bill at the time, saying that "Someone who has lived
here for 30 days will have a say in how we raise our taxes, our debt and
long-term pension liabilities. These are things people who are
temporary residents should not have a say in."
claimed that the measure to expand voting rights to non-citizens would
be a message to the rest of the country. "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," said
the bill's sponsor Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez.