Sun, 14 Aug 2022

New York judge rules non-citizens cannot vote in elections

Robert Besser
02 Jul 2022, 05:44 GMT+10

ALBANY, New York: A New York state judge has struck down a recent law giving 800,000 non-citizen New York City residents the right to vote in municipal elections, including for mayor.

The ruling noted that the law violated the state constitution, which states that "Every citizen" is entitled to vote.

The voting law was passed by the Democrat-controlled New York City Council in December and came into force in January, after both Mayor Bill de Blasio and his successor, Eric Adams, declined to either sign or veto it.

The law stipulates that a person must have been a NYC resident for at least 30 days prior to the election, which is described as too short a time period by critics, including Republicans who opposed the law since a majority of immigrants are more likely to vote for Democrats.

The law's supporters said it empowered the city's considerable population of non-citizens who pay taxes and contribute to the life and culture of the city.

Opponents, including the Republican Party and New York lawmakers who sued the city, said the law unfairly and unconstitutionally diluted the power of citizens' votes.

The City Council and law department, which could appeal the ruling in a higher state court, said the city was assessing its options.

In a joint statement, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Shahana Hanif, chair of the council's immigration committee, said, "By providing city residents with a voice in their local government representation, we provide them with an equal stake in the long-term success of our city."

Republican Michael Tannousis, who represents parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn in the New York State Assembly and was one of the plaintiffs in the suit, said, "As the son of immigrants that came to this country legally and worked tirelessly to become citizens, I consider voting to be a sacred right bestowed on American citizens."

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