New York City Mayor Eric Adams took to CNN’s State of the Union last week to praise a recently passed law that would allow 800,000 non-citizens to vote in elections. municipal, provided they have lived in the city for at least thirty years. days.
“I think it’s imperative that the people who are in a local municipality have the right to decide who is going to govern them,” Adams told host Jake Tapper while discussing the measure.
Supporters of the bill – known as Intro 1867 – include names such as former council member turned transport commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, who believes such measures are important because they will help include the voices of immigrants in local elections.
“We build stronger democracy when we include immigrant voices,” Rodriguez posted on his Twitter account, echoing a statement made by City Council Speaker Corey Johnson who said the bill will “expand democracy in New York to make sure people are more connected to civic and local issues in an equitable way.”
“At a time when democracy itself is under threat across the world, I applaud current and former members of City Council for last month’s courageous vote to enfranchise nearly one million of our neighbors, as well as the countless defenders who have fought tirelessly for years to make this victory possible,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr added in a comment to The Wave. “Our city and our democracy today is a fairer place and stronger through their dedication and activism.”
However, not everyone is so enthusiastic about the idea. Former mayor Bill De Blasio, before leaving office, said he had “mixed feelings” about the bill and expressed concerns about the legality of the legislation, while the local councilor of the District 31 and City Council Majority Selvena Brooks-Powers had her own reservations about the legislation.
“I am proud to support the fundamental intent of Intro 1867. I am a first generation American, and all my life I have seen firsthand the profound role that immigrants like my parents play in our communities. Permanent residents contribute to the strength of our local economy and the vitality of our neighbourhoods. They deserve to have a voice in our municipal elections,” Brooks-Powers told The Wave earlier this week.
“My primary concern with 1867 as passed is the 30-day residency requirement based on voter feedback,” Brooks-Powers added. “Although I received commitments to resolve my issue, no action was taken, which prevented me from supporting the bill as it was drafted and passed. Out of respect for those who m sent to mayor, my vote must be an extension of their voice. The Council cannot simply act as an automatic rubber stamp on major issues. We have a responsibility to advance and perfect legislation through a informed process that gives us time to address any concerns.
In order to prevent the bill from being implemented, Republicans in the region are considering taking the matter to court, where they hope to secure an injunction against the Board of Elections that would ban the BOE from collecting and counting votes. non-citizens.
“Councillor Ariola believes voting is the right of American citizens,” a spokeswoman for new District 32 Councilwoman Joann Ariola told The Wave. “There are so many immigrants who have come to this country and become citizens, who also oppose this legislation. We need to review our immigration laws and work harder to make it easier for immigrants who come to this country to become citizens.
Ariola is among those who signed the lawsuit to block the bill, joining councilors David Carr (R-Staten Island) Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) and Robert Holden (D-Queens), councilors Inna Vernikov ( R- Brooklyn) and Vickie Paladino (R- Queens), Assemblymen Michael Reilly (R South Shore) and Michael Tannousis (R- Staten Island/Southern Brooklyn), New York Republican Speaker Nick Langworthy, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) and Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella, among others.
Republicans cite one section of the New York State Constitution in particular — Article 2, Section 1 — as grounds for their case. According to this article, the right to vote is granted to “every citizen” aged 18 or over.
“Every citizen has the right to vote at every election for all officers elected by the people and on all questions put to the vote of the people provided that such citizen is eighteen years of age or older and has been a resident of that state, and county, city, or town for the 30 days before an election,” this article of the state constitution reads.
The wording of Article 2, Section 5 is also used to support the Republican position, which states that “laws shall be made to determine, by proper evidence, the citizens who shall be entitled to the right of suffrage hereby established, and for voter registration” – the word “citizen” being the key term for opponents of the bill.
“Anyone who reads New York State’s election law in plain English can see that it prohibits foreign citizens from voting,” said Councilman Joe Borelli, the City Council’s new Minority Leader and one of those who signed the lawsuit. “The public should look into Section 5-102 to fully understand how their city government is deliberately violating the law without regard.”