New York City to Allow 800,000 Noncitizens to Vote
A largely lame-duck group of city elected officials is about to saddle New Yorkers with yet another controversial measure that few have clamored for.
The City Council on Thursday approved a measure to allow non-citizen, but legal, Big Apple residents to vote in municipal elections — despite vocal opposition to the “irresponsible” and “dangerous” legislation, a procedural obstacle and threat of a legal challenge.
After an unsuccessful 11th-hour attempt by more than a dozen Democratic and Republican lawmakers to send the legislation back to a committee to be adjusted, the bill passed the 51-member body 33-14 with two abstentions, sending it to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s desk.
The bill, sponsored by Councilman Ydanis Rodríguez, will allow hundreds of thousands of non-citizens to participate in local elections by expanding voting eligibility to green card holders — about 10 percent of the city’s population — and recipients of deferred action.
Nearly 800,000 New Yorkers are covered under the legislation, including 622,000 green card holders. . . .
“Our city will become the largest municipality in the nation that will allow non-citizens to vote in local elections,” Speaker Corey Johnson, who is also term-limited out of office on Dec. 31, said in the Council Chambers. “New York has been built by immigrants, and we are what we are because of them.” . . .
City Council Minority Leader Joe Borrelli (R- Staten Island) said the measure is “incorrect and illegal” and “devalues” votes of adult citizen New Yorkers.
“It devalues the votes of 5.6 million current New Yorkers,” he said. “If we have people registered to vote that are allowed to vote per the state constitution, and if we add people who are specifically prohibited to vote per the state constitution, we water down the votes of the 5.6 million. people”
He added that he and other Republicans would challenge the law in court after it goes into effect either by arguing a citizen’s or a candidate’s rights are “infringed” upon by non-citizen voting.
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