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New York City to Give Non-Citizens the Right to Vote in Local Elections



New York City

New York City Council approves a measure giving non-citizens to vote in local elections. The qualification of New York residents to vote in local elections won 33 to 14 votes.

This measure could affect approximately one million adult non-citizens living in New York City. They must show proof that they lived in the city for more than 30 days, and citizens must have a work permit to register. Undocumented immigrants will remain barred from voting in the national elections.

The only thing that stood in the way of this measure from becoming law is the potential veto from Mayor Bill de Blasio. Other lawmakers expressed their concern over this issue, including Mayor Bill de Blasio.

In Maryland, 11 towns and two in Vermont already allow immigrants to vote in local elections. If this measure becomes law, New York City will be the biggest place to give non-citizens voting rights.

However, non-citizens still could not cast their ballots for president or members of Congress in federal cases, in-state elections that pick the judges, governor, or even legislators.

New York City

Courtesy of Andreas Komodromos (Flickr CC0

Last year, Colorado, Alabama, and Florida adopted rules to preempt attempts to pass laws like the one in New York City. North Dakota and Arizona had bans on the books already.

New York City’s measure allowing non-citizens to vote could intensify the national dispute over voting rights. Many inappropriately maintained that during federal elections, non-citizens used widespread fraud.

The New York City Board of Elections will draw up an implementation plan by July and create separate ballots for municipal races to prevent non-citizens from casting ballots in state or federal contests.

After Thursday’s vote, Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez said in a statement:

It is no secret; we are making history today. Fifty years down the line when our children look back at this moment, they will see a diverse coalition of advocates who came together to write a new chapter in New York City’s history by giving immigrant New Yorkers the power of the ballot.

Even if New York City Mayor de Blasio vetoes the bill, there was enough support to override his decision. And, if he decides not to act on it, the measure would become law by default.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Sheena Robertson


The Hill: NYC adopts measure allowing noncitizens to vote for mayor; by Sarah Polus
CNBC: NYC lawmakers pass bill giving noncitizens right to vote in local elections

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Bill de Blasio’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Andreas Komodromos’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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