Immigrant New Yorkers authorized to work in U.S. may get voting rights in city elections under proposed Council bill
New York City immigrants who have legal working papers but are not yet U.S. citizens may soon be able to vote in municipal elections.
Legislation to grant noncitizen immigrants city voting rights will be introduced to the City Council on Thursday, sources familiar with the matter told the Daily News.
The bill, which is sure to draw criticism from conservatives, would amend the City Charter to allow Big Apple residents with green cards and noncitizen work authorizations to cast ballots in mayoral and other local races.
The measure could mean that anywhere between 500,000 and 1 million city residents would gain the ability to vote, a potential sea change in the city’s electoral dynamics.
“This bill is about making democracy better,” said City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, the legislation’s chief sponsor. “It will invite anyone who wants to be a leader in this city to connect to these voters.”
He said that 22 Council members are backing the bill so far, as well as city Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) supported an earlier version of the proposal in 2010, but it died in the Council.
He hopes this time will be different given the way immigrants have been treated by President Trump and the backlash against Trump.
Rodriguez said, “2020 is a year when the conversation about immigrants is completely different than 2009.”
His bill would not give noncitizens the ability to vote in national or state elections.
Many advocates for the measure have been pushing hard for noncitizen residents to participate in the 2020 census, which will determine legislative districts and how much electoral influence states have in Congress. Those backers contend that their census efforts, as well as voter suppression in states like Georgia, have helped crystallize their feeling that now is the time for this bill to gain traction in the Council.
“It’s making sure we avoid taxation without representation,” said Steve Choi, director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “That’s a fundamental principle our democracy was founded on.”
Susan Stamler, executive director of United Neighborhood Houses, another supporter of the bill, said that despite what opponents might say, the measure is not a radical move and is a simple matter of morals.
Visit: Full Article