City Council was being pushed by Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President earlier this year to revisit a bill that would give non-citizen immigrants who legally reside in New York City the right to vote in city elections, saying: “We cannot be a beacon to the world and continue to attract the global talent, energy and entrepreneurship that has allowed our city to thrive for centuries if we do not give immigrants a vote in how this city is run and what our priorities are for the future.”
But Mayor Bill de Blasio said on “The Brian Lehrer Show” in September that there are “two problems” with the bill: “One, I don’t believe it is legal. Our law department is very clear on this. I really believe this has to be decided at the state level, according to state law.”
The other problem lies in that it undermines efforts to get people to become citizens, adding: “I think there’s a real set of mixed feelings it generates in me about what’s the right way to approach this issue.”
The bill says residents must be living in the city for at least 30 days prior to an election. It would also allow an estimated 808,000 non-citizens to vote, according to the New York Times. Here is a small part of that bill: “Nothing in this chapter shall be construed so as to confer upon municipal voters the right to vote for any state or federal office or on any state or federal ballot question.”
Anu Joshi, the vice president of policy at the New York Immigration Coalition believes that the bill would stand up to a legal challenge, despite de Blasio’s concerns.
“Any restrictions that are currently on the books really only apply to federal and state elections,” said Joshi.
A bill vote by the city council is scheduled for December 9.