New York Judge rules law allowing noncitizens to vote in local elections is unconstitutional

New York Judge Ralph Porzio ruled on Monday that a state law granting non-citizen residents of New York City the right to vote in local elections was in violation of the state’s constitution.

Judge Porzio explained: “The New York State Constitution expressly states that citizens meeting the age and residency requirements are entitled to register and vote in elections. The New York State Election Law reaffirms that citizens meeting the age and residency requirements are entitled to register and vote in elections. There is no statutory ability for the City of New York to issue inconsistent laws permitting non-citizens to vote and exceed the authority granted to it by the New York State Constitution.”

He added, “Though voting is a right that so many citizens take for granted, the City of New York cannot ‘obviate’ the restrictions imposed by the Constitution.”

New York’s Democrat-controlled City Council passed the “Our City, Our Vote” bill last December and it went into effect in January.

Reuters notes that the law allowed as many as 1 million noncitizens living in the city to vote in local elections, including mayor, public advocate, borough president and city council.

Those eligible to vote were required to have lived in the U.S. for at least 30 days as a legal permanent resident. Others eligible under the law included green card holders, individuals with workers permits and DACA holders, according to CNN.

A group with the Republican National Committee (RNC) had previously filed a lawsuit challenging the legislation, arguing that “By dramatically increasing the pool of eligible voters, the Non-Citizen Voting Law will dilute the votes of United States citizens, including the Plaintiffs in this action.”

Supporters of the law were disappointed by Monday’s ruling. “Months ago, after years of it being denied, New York City restored the right to vote in municipal elections regardless of immigration status with legislation I was proud to co-sponsor, an essential step towards building a true democracy in our city,” Tweeted the office of Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.



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