- The New York City Council voted to allow non-citizens the right to vote in municipal elections.
- Despite questions of legality, Mayor de Blasio will likely support the effort.
- The New York Republican Party will challenge the action, calling it dangerous.
Are you a ‘lawful’ permanent resident of NYC? Have you been in the city for at least 30 days? Authorized to work? Great! That is now all it takes to vote for municipal office holders in the Big Apple, thanks to members of the New York City Council.
Yesterday, council members voted 33-14 in favor of allowing non-citizens to vote in municipal elections. Next, it’s over to Mayor de Blasio’s desk who will almost certainly sign it (and even if he exercises his veto power, which he won’t, the council has enough support to override him).
This is a terrible idea —even Democrats on the council are flabbergasted by this move.
“I think this is a terribly bad bill,” Democratic councilman Robert Holden told National Review. “It’s amazing it has this many cosponsors. For the life of me I don’t know why any elected official would want this.”
“When you think about it, it’s absurd for somebody who’s a noncitizen to establish residency in New York City for 30 days, and then you can vote in all municipal elections.”
It is. It’s absurd.
Other opponents of the measure, like Democratic Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, believe it may have unforeseen effects —possibly impacting African-American communities.
“This particular legislation is going to shift the power dynamics in NYC in a major way, and we do not have the numbers or the information to know how that is going to impact African-American communities,” she said, according to Fox 5 News.
New York City Councilman and bill sponsor Ydanis Rodriguez believes it will encourage candidates to spend more time getting familiar with immigrant communities.
“Anyone who would like to be elected for a citywide office will have to spend the same amount of time visiting those communities—not only to celebrate their culture by dancing and eating their food—but discussing their platforms and agendas,” Rodriguez says.
The New York State Republican Party is ready to challenge the bill, and even Mayor de Blasio has questions about the legality of the measure (but that won’t stop him from signing it).
“We pledge action, legal or otherwise, any means necessary to stop this dangerous legislation from undermining our elections,” party chairman Nick Langworthy said. “[It allows] foreign powers … the ability to influence U.S. elections.”
And New York City isn’t the first to challenge such a measure…
According to Time Magazine, “Similar provisions in other parts of the country have also met resistance. In September, the Republican National Committee sued two Vermont towns for allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections, calling it a ‘radical scheme…to allow foreign citizens to decide American elections.’ At least five state legislatures, including Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida and North Dakota, have taken steps to preempt any such provisions.”
Sounds like the New York City Council is in for a fight.