NYC weighs voting rights for 800,000 noncitizens

Local News

NEW YORK — The City Council is poised to vote on a bill that would allow an estimated 800,000 noncitizens to vote in local, New York City elections.

While advocates say those people pay taxes and should have a say in who leads them, opponents of the bill say it will dissuade them from seeking citizenship.

Dan Cassino, a professor of government and politics at Fairleigh Dickinson University, weighed in on the issue.

The bill is expected to be passed in the City Council during a Dec. 9 vote.

Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed hesitations about it on Tuesday.

“I want to make sure that citizenship, which people work so hard to achieve, is valued and is given its full weight,” he said. “I want to make sure people become citizens who have that right and don’t hesitate. So, I really want to make sure that there’s maximum incentive to finish the citizenship process. I think there’s some open questions here that still cause me to feel concerned about this. In the end, this is the issue, obviously, the City Council is going to look at and potentially act on it.”

Cassino said he anticipates lawsuits over the bill.

“The courts are going to have to determine whether it’s even something the City can do on its own,” de Blasio said.  

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