GOP sues over law letting noncitizens vote in NYC elections

Local News

ALBANY, N.Y. — Republicans have sued to prevent noncitizens from voting in New York City elections under a new local law.

The law allows more than 800,000 noncitizens and “Dreamers” in the city to vote in municipal elections as early as next year. They still cannot vote in federal or state races, such as for president or the governor.

New York Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy and a group of Republican elected officials in New York City filed the lawsuit in state court on Staten Island.

They’re seeking to block the law and declare it unconstitutional.

More than a dozen communities across the U.S. already allow noncitizens to cast ballots in local elections, including 11 towns in Maryland and two in Vermont.

Noncitizens still wouldn’t be able to vote for president or members of Congress in federal races, or in the state elections that pick the governor, judges and legislators.

The first elections in which noncitizens would be allowed to vote are in 2023.

“We build a stronger democracy when we include the voices of immigrants,” said former City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, who led the charge to win approval for the legislation.

Rodriguez, who Adams appointed as his transportation commissioner, thanked the mayor for his support and expects a vigorous defense against any legal challenges.

Adams recently cast uncertainty over the legislation when he raised concern about the monthlong residency standard, but later said those concerns did not mean he would veto the bill.

While there was some question whether Adams could stop the bill from becoming law, the 30-day time limit for the mayor to take action expired at the stroke of midnight.

Adams said he looked forward to the law bringing millions more into the democratic process.

“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,” Adams said in a statement released Saturday night. He added that his earlier concerns were put at ease after what he called productive dialogue with colleagues.

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio had similar concerns but did not move to veto the measure before vacating City Hall at the end of the year.

Opponents say the council lacks the authority on its own to grant voting rights to noncitizens and should have first sought action by state lawmakers.

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.

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