NYC Law Allowing Noncitizens to Vote Struck Down

In a victory for the rule of law — and common sense — the New York Supreme Court ruled that New York City may not allow noncitizens to vote in municipal elections.

The law was so egregiously wrong that a vast coalition of groups and individuals joined together in opposition. The Republican National Committee and state GOP along with a group of Black New Yorkers sued to knock it down.

The African-American plaintiffs charged that the law, which passed last December, was filled with “discriminatory intent.” The suit alleged advocates of the measure intended to increase the political power of Hispanics and Asians at the expense of African Americans.

The group cited City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez, one of the bill’s sponsors, who declared the measure would increase the voting power of the city’s Hispanics and Asians.

Another member of the Council, Antonio Reynoso, railed against what he called the “sea of mostly White men” opposing allowing noncitizens to vote. Which, of course, completely ignored the African American plaintiffs.

For clarity, settled New York election law says specifically that “no person shall be qualified to register for and vote at any election unless he is a citizen of the United States.” It took a lawsuit to uphold what the New York State Constitution clearly demands.

The now defunct move gave municipal voting rights to an estimated 800,000 noncitizens who are legally able to live and work in the city.

For perspective, now-Mayor Eric Adams won last year’s mayoral Democratic primary by a mere 7, 197 votes. Under the new law, if it had stood, the ranks of likely Democratic primary voters would swell and the next outcome might very well be different.

Justice Ralph Porzio agreed with opponents of the law that it diluted the political power of actual citizens, as well as violated multiple statutes. He added that New York City overreached in its attempt to change qualifications for voting.

Supporters of the law include advocacy group LatinoJustice, which said it will appeal Porzio’s ruling. Meanwhile, the RNC is fighting similar efforts to grant voting power to noncitizens in both Vermont and Arizona.