Jan. 27, 2020 By Kristen Torres
The Queens delegation is split over a city bill that would grant green card holders and many other legal immigrants the right to vote in city elections.
The bill, introduced in the City Council on Jan. 23, would grant permanent residents and other legal immigrants with the right to vote in city elections, including for mayor, comptroller, city council and borough president.
Queens Council Members Costa Constantinides, Donovan Richards, Jimmy Van Bramer, Daniel Dromm, I. Daneek Miller, Adrienne E. Adams and Antonio Reynoso are among the 29 council members who have sponsored the legislation.
Queens Council Members Robert Holden, Paul Vallone, Karen Koslowitz, Francisco Moya, Barry Grodenchik, Rory Lancman, Eric Ulrich and Peter Koo have not signed on.
Under the bill, city officials would be tasked with creating a new voter registration form for “municipal voters,” who are non-citizens but hold greens cards or work authorizations and have lived in the city for at least 30 days prior to an election.
Council Member Dromm said in a Tweet Friday that any NYC resident who pays taxes should have the right to vote.
“No taxation without representation is a principal the US was founded on,” he wrote. “It’s a basic civil right.”
The legislation has the potential to make a huge impact on city politics—nearly 660,000 New Yorkers hold a green card, according to a 2018 report by the Mayor’s Office on Immigrant Affairs, and would be given voting rights under the new bill.
If approved, the bill could go into effect as early as 2021.
Critics of the legislation, however, said granting voting rights to non-citizens is simply not fair to citizen voters.
“I don’t think this is the right way to legislate…I believe that citizens are the only people who should have the right to vote,” said Council Member Robert Holden in a statement Friday.
“We should be focusing on increasing the poor voter turnout we have seen among citizens in recent elections.”
Allowing non-citizens to vote in school board elections, especially if they have children enrolled in local schools, was an interesting idea. However, there was a danger that this would be the top of a “slippery slope,” in which the distinction between the rights and duties of citizens v. non-citizens would become further eroded. Allowing non-citizens to vote in municipal elections for official government positions (such as mayor and city council) is the next step down that slope, and it is not a viable alternative to the much needed “path to citizenship” which, for many, this nation has been unable or unwilling to offer.
We decry the treatment of some U.S. citizens as rendering them “second class citizens,” yet an official “second class citizenship” is now being proposed to legitimatize such a status. I find this notion problematic, to say the least, and I hope the proposal will be soundly defeated.
if you are here legally and want to be part of the political process you should become a citizen. Just because we pay taxes we should not have the right to vote unless you are a citizen. That is the reason to be part of a nation, to be able to participate in the political process
I guess being born here has no meaning anymore
This bill is ridiculous! What is the point of being a US citizen than? NYC council showed many times they don’t care about citizens, giving freebies to illegals. Legal residents come here to earn the right of becoming a US citizen and must prove that right before citizenship is granted.
You are correct. All they care about is power!
Voting should remain the sole privilege of US citizens, even in municipal elections. Anything else waters down that right. If people want to vote, they should naturalize.