- New York City is pushing forward legislation that will allow noncitizens to vote in local elections.
- If it’s approved on Dec. 9, the city would become the largest municipality in the US to do so.
- Mayor Bill de Blasio has argued that the legislation will take away incentive to seek citizenship.
New York City is pushing forward legislation that will allow over 800,000 noncitizens to vote in local elections, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
The bill would give lawful permanent residents of the city an opportunity to join political parties and vote in municipal elections — not state or federal — according to legislation details reviewed by Insider.
Lawful permanent residents are green card holders or people who are legally authorized to live in the US, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
If City Council approves the legislation on December 9 as expected, New York City would become the largest municipality in the US to extend voting power to noncitizens, the Times said.
Supporters of the legislation — like immigrant advocates and politicians — have long pushed for noncitizens to be granted the opportunity to vote in local contests, the report said.
Supporters argue that it makes sense for immigrants who legally live in the city — and send their children to public schools, use public services, or pay takes — to have a stake in local government, the report said.
While Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference on Tuesday told reporters that he has no intentions to try and veto the bill, he said he was worried that the legislation would take away incentives for people to seek citizenship and raised questions about its legality.
“I want citizenship to be something that people pursue fully, quickly, every chance they get,” he said. “I’m concerned about that.”
He added: “To me, this is something that, again, I’m not sure is legally what a city can do.”
The legislation comes as noncitizens are seeking opportunities to secure voting rights around the country.
According to Pew, a handful of cities in Vermont and Maryland have passed legislation giving noncitizens some municipal voting rights and other states are weighing similar legislation.
In November 2020, however, Alabama, Colorado, and Florida voters passed measures saying only US citizens could vote, the AP reported at the time.
Prior to that, only Arizona and North Dakota had such legislation in place, the report said.