NY Supreme Court strikes down New York City’s law allowing noncitizens to vote 


NY Supreme Court strikes down New York City’s law allowing noncitizens to vote

  • The New York City Council approved a law last December allowing legal residents who have been in the city for at least 30 days to vote
  • The law would have added around 800,000 noncitizens to the city’s voter rolls, including green card holders and DACA recipients 
  • Justice Ralph Porzio, of Staten Island, ruled Monday that the law violated the state constitution which requires voters be citizens 
  • He said that to give noncitizens the right to vote there must be a referendum 

The New York state Supreme Court struck down a New York City law allowing noncitizens to vote on Monday. 

The New York City Council approved a law last December allowing legal residents who have been in the city for at least 30 days, including those with green cards and DACA recipients, to vote in city elections starting in 2023. The law would have added around 800,000 noncitizens to the city’s voter rolls, but would not have allowed them to vote in state or federal elections.  

In January the Republican National Committee (RNC), New York Republican party and a number of other city council members who voted against the legislation filed suit. 

Justice Ralph Porzio, of Staten Island, ruled Monday that the law violated the state constitution which requires voters be citizens, but the case could continue on to the Court of Appeals. 

New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez speaks during a rally on December 9 on the steps of City Hall ahead of a City Council vote to allow lawful permanent residents to cast votes in elections to pick the mayor, City Council members and other municipal officeholders

New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez speaks during a rally on December 9 on the steps of City Hall ahead of a City Council vote to allow lawful permanent residents to cast votes in elections to pick the mayor, City Council members and other municipal officeholders

Noncitizens must be living legally in NYC for at least 30 days or be authorized to work through programs like DACA or TPS

Noncitizens must be living legally in NYC for at least 30 days or be authorized to work through programs like DACA or TPS

The justice ruled that the law also violated New York State election law and the Municipal Home Rule. He said that to give noncitizens the right to vote there must be a referendum. 

More than a dozen communities across the U.S. already allow non-citizens to cast ballots in local elections, including 11 towns in Maryland and two in Vermont, but New York would have been the first major city to do so. 

Some states, including Alabama, Arizona, Colorado and Florida, have adopted rules that would preempt any attempts to pass laws like the one in New York City. 

‘Today’s decision validates those of us who can read the plain English words of our state constitution and state statutes: Noncitizen voting in New York is illegal, and shame on those who thought they could skirt the law for political gain. Opposition to this measure was bipartisan and cut across countless neighborhood and ethnic lines, yet progressives chose to ignore both our constitution and public sentiment in order to suit their aims. I commend the court in recognizing reality and reminding New York’s professional protestor class that the rule of law matters,’ said GOP City Council minority leader Joseph Borelli in a statement. 

After the city council passed the bill, it was sent to former Mayor Bill de Blasio, who neither signed nor vetoed it before leaving office. When Mayor Eric Adams came in, he also failed to sign or veto the legislation. The bill was deemed adopted because it was neither signed nor vetoed becomes legislation within 30 days. 

‘Today’s ruling is a huge victory for election integrity and the rule of law: American elections should be decided by American citizens,’ RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. 

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