Blue City Law Allowing Non-Citizens To Vote Ruled Unconstitutional

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Jake Smith Contributor
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A New York City law that would allow non-citizens to vote in local elections was deemed unconstitutional by a state appeals court on Wednesday.

The law would have allowed roughly 800,000 green card holders and individuals with federal work authorization living in the Big Apple to vote in the city’s elections, including in mayoral and City Council elections. Democratic and Republican elected officials have been in a drawn-out legal battle over the law, and the court’s ruling Wednesday hands Democrats a defeat. (RELATED: Eric Adams Makes Bizarre Allusion To 9/11 As Proof Of NYC’s Greatness)

“We determine that this local law was enacted in violation of the New York State Constitution and Municipal Home Rule Law, and thus, must be declared null and void,” Paul Wooten, associate justice of the Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department in New York, wrote in the Wednesday ruling. The court’s 3-1 ruling determined that the state’s constitution clause that reads “every citizen shall be entitled to vote” only referred to U.S. citizens.

The law was first introduced in January 2022 but did not go into effect amid a series of legal challenges. Several Republican officials sued immediately after it was introduced and a lower court subsequently ruled against it months later; Democratic Mayor Eric Adams and his administration had backed the law and sought an appeal, but that was struck down by the state court on Wednesday.

Progressive Democrats put their full support behind the law, dubbed by them as the “Our City, Our Vote” bill that they claim would make elections more inclusive for the city’s massive non-citizen and migrant population. Republicans largely opposed the law, claiming that it would create massive voter fraud and only serve to give Democrats a win by bolstering their base in elections.

“I won baby, I won,” Council Republican leader Joe Borelli said in an interview on Wednesday, according to Politico. “This was an easy case. All they had to do was read the state constitution and municipal law. The criticism falls on the proponents of the bill.”

The New York Immigration Coalition, a progressive organization that supported the law, expressed dismay at the ruling.

“The lawsuit remains another shameful attempt by xenophobic Republicans who would disenfranchise residents rather than promote a more inclusive and participatory democracy,” NYIC Executive Director Murad Awawdeh said in a statement on Wednesday. “Immigrant New Yorkers deserve a say in how their local government functions and spends their tax money, and we remain committed to ensuring the expansion of voting rights.”

Non-citizen voting is not a widespread phenomenon in the U.S., although some regions are pushing for it. Washington D.C. overcame hurdles and passed such a law in 2022, though it currently faces legal opposition; the state of Arizona has a clause in its Election Procedures Manual that could enable non-citizens to vote in federal elections.

The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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