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Queens Council Members Split Over Granting Non Citizens NYC Voting Rights

(Photo: NYC Mayors Office via Flickr)

Jan. 27, 2020 By Kristen Torres

The Queens delegation is split over a city bill that would grant green card holders and many other legal immigrants the right to vote in city elections.

The bill, introduced in the City Council on Jan. 23, would grant permanent residents and other legal immigrants with the right to vote in city elections, including for mayor, comptroller, city council and borough president.

Queens Council Members Costa Constantinides, Donovan Richards, Jimmy Van Bramer, Daniel Dromm, I. Daneek Miller, Adrienne E. Adams and Antonio Reynoso are among the 29 council members who have sponsored the legislation.

Queens Council Members Robert Holden, Paul Vallone, Karen Koslowitz, Francisco Moya, Barry Grodenchik, Rory Lancman, Eric Ulrich and Peter Koo have not signed on.

Under the bill, city officials would be tasked with creating a new voter registration form for “municipal voters,” who are non-citizens but hold greens cards or work authorizations and have lived in the city for at least 30 days prior to an election.

Council Member Dromm said in a Tweet Friday that any NYC resident who pays taxes should have the right to vote.

“No taxation without representation is a principal the US was founded on,” he wrote. “It’s a basic civil right.”

The legislation has the potential to make a huge impact on city politics—nearly 660,000 New Yorkers hold a green card, according to a 2018 report by the Mayor’s Office on Immigrant Affairs, and would be given voting rights under the new bill.

If approved, the bill could go into effect as early as 2021.

Critics of the legislation, however, said granting voting rights to non-citizens is simply not fair to citizen voters.

“I don’t think this is the right way to legislate…I believe that citizens are the only people who should have the right to vote,” said Council Member Robert Holden in a statement Friday.

“We should be focusing on increasing the poor voter turnout we have seen among citizens in recent elections.”

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16 Comments

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Michie

What is the point of getting my citizenship if they are giving voter rights to Green card holder. I studied English and American history in order to get the citizenship. It’s nonsense. How about lack of patriotism. For example many Chinese people who have green card or visa can vote for president election?

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A Woodsider

I am sent a bill by the commonwealth! Try not paying! Would like to be able to vote in state and local elections where I pay property taxes, municipal taxes and school taxes. Would like to have a say in how my hard earned tax dollars are spent. I return to my primary address for state and federal voting. Do not desire to vote twice in Federal elections.

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Dietmar Detering

A Woodsider, how you manage to pay income tax in two states aside, you seem to desire voting rights in two cities. I just want to be able to vote in one city (NYC, the one I am committed to).

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Dietmar Detering

Wow, hostile crowd here! To clarify:
1) this is about municipal-level elections. No country leaders being selected here!
2) Non-citizen voting rights are not new to the United States. Actually, excluding non-citizens is what’s “new”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_of_foreigners_to_vote_in_the_United_States
3) As a greencard holder I would, under this proposal, be allowed to vote for our mayor (again: a country leader?), city council and so forth, influencing how my property, local income and sales taxes are being spent on police, schools, and local infrastructure. NYC would be the only place where I can do this because I am not eligible to vote anywhere else (citizenship in a country alone does not give you municipal voting rights anywhere – you need to live in that place)
4) Newsflash: Voting is not the only way to influence policy in NYC or anywhere: I am allowed to donate to parties and candidates or political causes, and I can lobby for initiatives, attend events, volunteer in campaigns and so much more. Does it upset you that foreign actors influence US policy without even needing to vote?
5) Eligibility would be tied to something more than just being here. You need a greencard or a work permit visa and then register to vote here. Tourists and illegal immigrants won’t qualify.
6) Too good to not bring it up here: “If voting could change anything it would be made illegal!”

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Mary

I hope citizens of this city and great country wake up and start showing up at the polls, especially here in NYC. I am a democrat, was a legal resident and became a citizen. I disagree with legal residents being allowed to vote. I didn’t come from a foreign country to impose my rules, that’s funny that some green card holders here already suggesting what should be done. You come into someone’s county respect their rules and laws. However NYC council keep pandering for votes and allow those who break the law more rights then the law abiding citizens. Unfortunately democracy’s here have gone too far left and I will not be voting for them.

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A Woodsider

I pay property taxes in two states. I pay state taxes in two states. I pay income taxes in two states. I can only vote in NYC which is my primary address. I can not vote in the local elections where I pay a property tax, a school tax, a municipal tax, AND A RAIN tax! Now MY representatives, who’s salaries I pay for want non citizens to be allowed to vote!?!? What about MY taxation without representation? I pay my taxes! Thank you Queens Post for listing the names of who want this insanity and those who do not want this insanity. I will keep this list and use it for a reference when I vote, Please list the those who voted the crazy bail nonsense. I will add that to my list! Enough of this nonsense! Enough of my hard earned money paying these idiots salaries!

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El loco

This legislation is an outrage and shows how demented the city council is. All it is is a way for Hispanic politicians to gain more voters and stay in power longer. It’s all about power.

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So what is the sense of citizenship

– inmigrants can (maybe) vote
– illegal inmigrants can have Driver’s licence.
– can have medicaid, free housing, snaps
– can work
– pay taxes
– receive scholarships
– get insurance

So eliminate the “citizen” or “inmigrant” status.

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Dietmar Detering

I am a greencard holder and appreciate the gesture. The European Union has been applying this idea for many years, but only for EU citizens. Going a step further seems the right thing to do for the World’s Capital! I do understand the idea that only citizens should have the right to vote, but citizenship is “of the United States”, and US policy and representation is done in D.C. – keeping federal elections only tied to citizenship should address this concern sufficiently, no?

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Thomas Payne

If a non-citizen is going to vote for the leaders of a country, that country’s rightful citizens should withhold their taxes! Starve the beast!

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What if I tell you that

Non-citizens are going to vote republican… legal green card holders may not be the leftists these people believe

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I agree, Trump lovers are in full support

An here they call Trump lovers bigots because of racist dog whistles like “build the wall,” here’s one encouraging non-citizens to vote. Thanks!

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Reggie

These people are insane. Only U.S. citizens should be allowed to vote in public elections. Period.

If you want to increase voter turnout, allow voting-by-mail.

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Get Real

Paying taxes doesn’t give you the right to vote. Foreign tourists come here and pay taxes, should we give them the right to vote?

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These aren't tourists

If you read the first sentence you’ll learn that they are legal immigrants.

It’s strange you’d compare them to foreign tourists because that’s such a ridiculous straw man we can dismiss it instantly.

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