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Legal Noncitizens Can Now Vote in City Elections, Mayor Adams Decides Not to Block Council Bill

Noncitizens now have the right to vote in local elections. Pictured are voters casting their ballots in South Ozone Park in 2020. (Photo by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

Jan. 10, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

Green card holders and residents who are authorized to work now have the right to vote in local elections.

Mayor Eric Adams, who had expressed concerns about a bill passed by the council last month permitting certain noncitizens the right to vote, decided not to challenge the legislation. The bill has now become law.

The new law gives approximately 800,000 non-citizen New Yorkers the ability to partake in municipal elections.

Under the legislation, legal residents now have the right to vote in city elections, such as for mayor, public advocate, comptroller and their local council member. They are unable to vote in state and federal elections.

The new law makes New York City the largest municipality in the country permitting noncitizens the right to vote in local elections.

Adams had the right to veto the bill until Sunday, which would have kicked it back to the new city council. The previous council passed the bill by 33 votes to 14 last month, one vote short of overriding the mayor’s power to veto the bill.

The mayor gave the bill, titled “Our City, Our Vote”, his backing on Saturday—saying it would bring more people into the democratic process.

“I believe that New Yorkers should have a say in their government, which is why I have and will continue to support this important legislation,” Adams said.

Adams said that he initially had misgivings about a stipulation in the bill that only requires noncitizens to live in the city for 30 days prior to a local election. He indicated that the 30-day requirement was too short.

However, in his statement Saturday, he said that he had conversations with other government officials that put these concerns “at ease.”

He did not specify the nature of those discussions.

Noncitizens now have the right to vote in local elections. Mayor Eric Adams, pictured, let a recently passed city council bill become law Sunday (Photo by Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

The first citywide election that qualifying noncitizens will be permitted to vote is likely to be in 2023. The law, however, is expected to face legal challenges.

For instance, Albany Law School Professor Vincent Bonventre told the New York Post last month that the bill may violate Article 2, Section 1, of the state constitution, which grants the right to vote in all elections to “every citizen” 18 years of age or older.

“The implications seems pretty clear that the right to vote is exclusive to citizens,” Bonventre said. “They are the only ones mentioned and nothing else suggests the right to vote may be extended to others.”

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24 Comments

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ABoondy

thanks, good to know. i have a few million friends in russia and china on facebook looking to vote republican. i’ll let them know that they can now legally vote in our elections.

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Boris

I don’t’ think even Adams believes his own bullshite. He is obviously stacking votes for his next election. He spins like Biden, “I am a moderate until I get into office…then I will de value citizens and citizenship to get re elected..

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There is stupid then there is Fox Stupid

Boris – Do you really think Adams needs to go out and fish for more votes? The man won in a massive landslide.

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Hans

Permanent legal residents who pay taxes voting in local elections? How shocking. These sorts of policies are common all over the world.
Democracy at work.

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Jose

maaaaan this dude duped almost EVERYONE. We gotta stop “Giving them a chance” if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, n quack’s like a duck, it’s clearly a goose.

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Alejandra

I think that non-citizens who have been living in the city for at least 5 days should have the right to vote! All you xenophobes and racists can move.

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Derrick

As a Trump supporter, I think this is a great idea. Kudos to Mayor Adams. Congratulations for this forward-looking initiative. Sign of better things to come.
Cheap plug: I have a nice and clean 3-bedroom apartment for sale, lease or rent.

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Al

Who cares…today most people tend to vote for the person that promises more handouts..will not make a difference. Most of WQ is now the epicenter of the progressive movement in Queens and its spreading throughout the borough. This changes the ball game for districts like district 30.

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Amyra

Anyone who lives, works, raises a family, and contributes to the social and economic fabric of a municipality, should get to participate in the local democratic process!!!!!!

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Ye-Jun

To be fair, I see some merit in allowing green card holders to vote ONLY in local elections. Most talented immigrants coming to the country(i.e. those with Master’s degrees), especially from India, China, Korea etc. have to wait forever(and I mean the queue can literally be more than an individual’s lifetime) to get citizenship. If someone has lived here for a month, and is actively contributing to the country, I don’t see why he/she shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

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Billy

There has been an erosion in the concept of a citizen, and NYC is leading the way. Anyone may now enter this country without fear of legal consequences. The immigration laws are essentially null and void. The concept of a citizen goes way back.

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QnsGal

Bill DeBlasio was criticized as being an awful mayor. He NEVER did anything as stupid Or unpatriotic as this. People from other countries go thru enormous measures to become citizens and earn the right to vote.

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efon

I’m a progressive but agree that voting should be only for citizens. Maybe I’m not left enough but that’s nothing to be ashamed of.
I’m surprised that Adams, who is a so called moderate, is taking this stance.

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Someone should build a wall or something

Maybe get Mexico to make a “one-time payment” for it? Too bad Trump was too weak to do it, now we have to clean up his mess.

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Jim

This is non-sense. No different that the tricks Republicans pull to try and keep people from voting. Democrats are trying to get people voting who shouldn’t be so they can increase their voter rolls. Next will be illegal immigrants.

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Logic has 'left' the building

Yet another political puppet of the billionaires that I did NOT vote for. Best of luck, NYC friends, I am leaving. This is too much. This guy will only perpetuate the terrible policies of the previous administration, and continue to enforce with his own power tripping. Not a free thinker, and does not think about the consequences of his actions. Ego-tripping cop is now responsible for the city. Nice, everybody, really nice.

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Callum

This isn’t new. Non citizens were allowed to vote in school board elections here in the past.

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Libertas

This is a white collar coup. Similar to white collar crimes. Politicians in suits bought by Soros are turning NYC into a dump. Good luck!

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Connie

Ah, your antisemitism is showing “Libertas.” Blaming Soros is a classic antisemite dog whistle.

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