The Democrat-dominated New York City Council passed a law in December that would have allowed nearly 1 million non-citizens to vote in local elections. Although then-Mayor Bill de Blasio never signed it, it was adopted when he took no action for 30 days. It was set to take effect in January of 2023.
“There is no statutory ability for the City of New York to issue inconsistent laws permitting non-citizens to vote and exceed the authority granted to it by the New York State Constitution,” State Supreme Court Judge Ralph Porzio ruled. “Though voting is a right that so many citizens take for granted, the City of New York cannot “obviate” the restrictions imposed by the Constitution.”
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Porzio, a Republican justice who sits in the city’s Republican bastion of Staten Island, said the state Constitution allows only citizens meeting age and residency requirements can register and vote in elections. He added that state election law reaffirms the requirements, and for good measure said the city’s own Municipal Home Rule Law makes it illegal to allow non-citizens to vote.
The scheme was opposed from the beginning by the Republican National Committee, the state GOP and the few Republican lawmakers who hold office in the city.
“This ruling is a huge victory for election integrity and the rule of law: American elections should be decided by American citizens,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel on Twitter. “The RNC is proud to head a broad coalition in successfully challenging this unconstitutional scheme and will continue to lead the effort across the country to ensure only citizens can vote in America’s elections.”
The City Council passed the law by a 33-14 vote on December 9, 2021. It said noncitizens who have lived in the city for at least 30 days and are legal permanent residents, including green card holders, DREAMERS, and residents with work permits, could vote in city elections, including the mayor, public advocate, borough president, and city council.
Although de Blasio’s inaction allowed the bill to become law, he was a critic of it because he claimed it might discourage people from seeking citizenship.