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Queens Republicans Push Back Against Noncitizen Voting Bill Ahead of Council Vote

Queens Council Member-elect Joann Ariola speaks out against the noncitizen voting bill at a press conference on the steps of City Hall Thursday (screenshot via NY GOP livestream)

Dec. 7, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Queens Republicans are pushing back against a City Council bill that would provide legal noncitizens with the right vote in city elections.

Republicans and other critics have held press conferences, launched ‘call to action’ campaigns and have publicly condemned the legislation, known as “Our City, Our Vote”, ahead of the Council’s scheduled vote on Thursday.

The legislation, which is expected to pass, would give approximately 800,000 green card holders and authorized workers the right to vote in municipal elections. It would require such voters to have lived in the city for at least 30 consecutive days prior to the election.

The Queens Village Republican Club sent out an email blast last month calling on its members to reach out to their council representatives and ask them to vote no on what it called an “abominable” bill.

Club President Phil Orenstein claimed that the lawmakers in support of the bill “aim to destroy citizenship through non-citizen voting laws.”

“Citizenship is now under attack,” Orenstein wrote. “Elected officials in the NYC Council are now targeting your voting system.”

He urged members to contact their local council members.

“Call, visit, and write to them about the true meaning of citizenship and demand that they vote ‘no’ on this bill,” Orenstein said.

The bill, however, is expected to pass as 35 of the 51 council members plus the public advocate are sponsors. Given the number of sponsors, the bill is also anticipated to be veto-proof.

However, opponents have already pledged to take legal action against the legislation.

The New York State Republican Party alongside current and future GOP council members said they would fight the bill in court.

Party Chairman Nick Langworthy and Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli convened a press conference on the steps of City Hall Thursday to denounce the bill. They pledged to fight against it, even if that means in court.

“This is perhaps the worst idea out of New York City Democrats ever, and that’s really saying something,” Langworthy said. “This radical legislation is unconstitutional, un-American and downright dangerous.”

He argued that the legislation violates the state constitution, which links voting rights to citizenship.

“This is unconditionally unconstitutional and we will use every legal method to make sure it’s stopped,” Langworthy said.

The state constitution, however, doesn’t expressly say that noncitizens cannot vote. The bill supporters say that tax-paying noncitizens should have the right to vote.

Queens Council Member-elect Joann Ariola echoed Langworthy’s statements about the legality of the bill at the press conference.

“What you are seeing today is a portion of this city council — the far left portion — who’s looking to break the law and go against the beloved constitution that they stand by when it’s convenient for them,” Ariola said.

She added that the current council is pushing the vote ahead before more, recently-elected Republican council members like herself take office on Jan. 1.

“They want to push this through,” she said. “They want to make sure that people like myself and the other members who are newly elected will not have a vote.”

Nine Queens council members are co-sponsoring the bill. Council Members Daniel Dromm, I. Daneek Miller, Jimmy Van Bramer, Antonio Reynoso, Adrienne Adams, Peter Koo, Selvena Brooks-Powers, Francisco Moya and Tiffany Cabán are among the bill’s sponsors.

They argue that people who pay taxes and use city services should have a say — at the ballot box — as to how their tax money is spent.

Queens Council Members Eric Ulrich, Barry Grodenchik, James Gennaro, Karen Koslowitz and Robert Holden have not signed on as sponsors.

Holden, a moderate Democrat, has been outspoken about his opposition to the legislation.

He told the Queens Post Friday that giving noncitizens the right to vote “cheapens the meaning of citizenship.” He also took exception with the requirement that voters only needed to be in the city for 30 days.

“I don’t think any right-minded [person] would say that we should give votes to individuals that have only been in New York City for 30 days,” Holden said.

He doesn’t believe the legislation will stand up to a legal challenge.

“I think this bill is so far-fetched,” Holden said. “I think we’re wasting our time in the City Council even talking about it.”

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12 Comments

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johnwk

We are talking about residents who are foreign nationals and have not gone through our country’s naturalization process which prepares foreigners to be better qualified in exercising the privilege of voting.
Keep in mind the wisdom of Joseph Story:
“If aliens might be admitted indiscriminately to enjoy all the rights of citizens at the will of a single state, the Union might itself be endangered by an influx of foreigners, hostile to its institutions, ignorant of its powers, and incapable of a due estimate of its privileges.” – Joseph Story
Additionally, the quality of voters in local elections “. . . transcend mere local concern and extend a contaminating influence into the national domain” ___ Justice DOUGLAS in United States v. Classic (1941)”.

Our neuralization process helps to produce a more qualified voter and noncitizens have not even taken our country’s oath of allegiance which is required before immigrants are allowed to vote.

JWK

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Olga

It used to be a goal of immigrants to become US citizens but why even bother now when the Dems will give you all the Rights including the vote of someone that is born here. Heck all you have to do is stroll across the border and the Dems will welcome you with open arms, give you everything you need/want (but not force you to take the shot) and deliver you to any destination you choose.

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Sarah

Allegedly this only applies to legal immigrant green card holders which would actually help progressives as many folks who came here legally tend to be more conservative than an average American but tend to vote for free healthcare and government benefits when there is a choice. I’m fairly certain this is just the first step of letting illegals vote.

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Alison

I suppose the city of New York can decide who can and can’t vote in their CITY elections. What business is it of anyone else?

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Mike

Democrat Moderates and Independents, Don’t let your party do this. There will never be a moderate Democrat elected again. NYC will become San Francisco East. A Socialist society with massive welfare programs you can’t afford. The citizens of the inner city will suffer for it.

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John

This is outrageous. At some point the non citizens will have more voice and political contract than the citizens. Fools like JVB and others that sponsored this will destroy this city if given the choice.

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Lucky number 7 train

my wife is an immigrant and just became a citizen and even she thinks this is wrong to have noncitizens voting in our elections. I’ve learned with living in nyc my entire life and going through this process with my wife that green card holders after 8 years are eligible for citizenship as long as they pay their taxes and dont commit any serious crimes. America like every country has a rich and complex political history and system. People need time to learn and experience the effects of politics on their lives and their American dream. It takes life experiences and time. landing in the country/city for 30 days doesnt give them enough time to learn. voting is one of our most important rights and it should not be giving to noncitizens who haven’t had the time to learn our values.

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Jim

Tiffany Caban will sponsor a bill so that migrant caravans coming from Honduras can vote. “Why not.” They will eventually be citizens.” Said Tiffany.

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Martha

So what. Tiffany caban made it very clear about who she is and what she stands for during her campaign. She won her District by almost 64% of the vote. Astoria loves her. If she wants a second term she needs to continue fighting for equality and justice for all. I know many landlords in Astoria that also voted for her because they said it brings other perfect progressive into the neighborhood and keep the rent High. That group does not mind living next to noise, filth, high crime, homeless, bike lanes, shelters, smoke shops, and affordable housing.

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