Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

From today’s New York Times:

Mayor Eric Adams, setting aside prior misgivings, allowed a bill to become law on Sunday that would grant more than 800,000 noncitizens the right to vote in municipal elections.

“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,” the mayor said in a statement.

“I look forward to bringing millions more into the democratic process,” he added.

The measure applies to legal residents, including those with green cards, and so-called Dreamers who were brought to the country illegally as children but were allowed to remain under a federal program known as DACA. Although the City Council approved the bill last month, New York law provides the mayor the opportunity to veto it within 30 days. Without any action, the bill passes into law automatically, as happened with this measure.

Because of the new law, an estimated 808,000 adults will be eligible to vote beginning Jan. 9, 2023, according to the City Council. They will be able to vote in primary and general elections for citywide contests, like those for mayor and public advocate, as well as in local races, like those for City Council and borough presidents. The law does not allow noncitizens to vote in state or federal elections.

On Monday, the Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit against the mayor, City Council and the city Board of Elections, challenging the law as unconstitutional.

In a statement, Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, accused Democrats of attempting to subvert elections by allowing noncitizens to vote, adding: “American elections should be decided by American citizens.”

New York is not the first city to implement such a measure — similar policies exist in Vermont and Maryland, and are under consideration in Illinois, Maine and Massachusetts — but it is the largest to do so.

The measure stands in sharp contrast to other efforts nationwide to limit the right to vote. In August, Texas passed a bill limiting the use of absentee voting and drop boxes, and empowering partisan poll watchers. That measure has been challenged by the Justice Department, which contended that the law disenfranchised older, disabled and non-English-speaking voters.

Read the complete story here.

By Editor