New York City to allow some 800,000 non-citizens to vote in local elections

The New York City Council is planning to approve legislation that would allow non-citizens who are green card holders or have the right to work in the U.S. to vote in city elections.

It would affect some 800,000 city residents, who’d also be able to register as members of political parties.

It’s expected to be approved in a December 9th vote by a veto-proof margin, and even though outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio said he’s opposed to the measure, he said he won’t veto it.

Incoming Mayor-elect Eric Adams, who, like de Blasio, is a Democrat, has said he supports allowing green card holders to vote in local elections.

Supporters of the measure say non-citizens in the city legally pay taxes, send their children to public school and rely on city services, and should have some say in who becomes mayor or represents them on the City Council.

But opponents say it would weaken citizens’ voting rights and discourage immigrants from trying to become citizens.

De Blasio has said he believes only the State Legislature can grant non-citizens the right to vote, but the Council’s staff determined no federal or state law bars New York City from expanding the right to vote in local elections but also concluded the measure might be vulnerable to a legal challenge.

Joe Kelley

Joe Kelley

News Director

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