New York City Passes Bill That Allows Non-Citizens To Vote In Local Elections
Legal specialists expect the law to be met with challenges by those those who may find it to be unconstitutional.
January 24, 2022 at 9:46 pm
New York City Mayor Eric Adams will now allow more than 800,000 immigrants to legally vote in the city’s municipal elections as early as next year, The Guardian reports.
On Dec. 9, members of the New York City Council voted 33-14 to approve the law, according to the New York Post.
Legal specialists expect the law to be met with challenges by those who may find it to be unconstitutional. However, unless a judge the law from being enacted, New York will become the first major city in the U.S. to give voting rights to those eligible under the noncitizen legislation.
The law will be advantageous to minority immigrants who have green cards and work permits. Holders will be permitted to vote starting Jan. 9, 2023, according to New York’s City Council.
The bill's residency requirement will also be similar to New York state's voting law, in which states that all voters are to be registered at least 30 days before voting in an election, The New York Times reports.
“I believe that New Yorkers should have a say in their government, which is why I have and will continue to support this important legislation,” Adams said in a statement, according to the Times.
Despite the victory, a lawful stipulation will limit noncitizens' right to vote in federal elections, as it is illegal across the U.S. However, it’s estimated that at least 14 cities in the country have approved noncitizen voting, according to Reuters.
New York City has the largest population of Black immigrants, according to Pew Research Center. Robert Agyemang, who works as the New York director of African Communities Together, said the implementation of noncitizens' right to vote will help to "compel'' interest for Black immigrants to participate in elections, according to the Atlanta Black Star.
Agyemang also said he believes the voting movement will help immigrants have an added sense of community and a voice as to how their city is governed.
“A lot of them pay taxes,” he said. “A lot of them are integral to what’s happening within the communities, and to withhold the right or the ability for them to have a direct stake in who is overseeing the resources for their community, or who is directly responsible for the help that they will immediately get from the city government or from the other localities that they will be participating in … they should be able to have a say in that as well.”
About 213,000 Black noncitizens residing in New York are over 18. However, an accurate number has not been concluded because many immigrants live in fear of being deported by authorities.
Murad Awawdeh, the executive director of the New York Immigrant Coalition, said, “Immigrant New Yorkers will have the opportunity to be a part of the process and will no longer be rendered invisible."