Jan. 11, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Three Queens Council Members have joined a Republican-led lawsuit that aims to block a new city law that allows legal noncitizens to vote in local elections.
Republican Council Members Joann Ariola and Vickie Paladino as well as Democrat Council Member Robert Holden have signed onto a lawsuit with leaders of the New York state Republican Party arguing that the new law is unconstitutional.
The suit, filed Monday in Staten Island Supreme Court, asks a judge to issue an injunction against the city from implementing the law.
The suit states that the law violates 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 law is clear and the ethics are even clearer,” New York Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy said in a statement. “We shouldn’t be allowing citizens of other nations to vote in our elections, full stop.”
The legal action seeks to stop 800,000 non-citizen New Yorkers – comprised of green card holders and residents who are authorized to work — from voting in local elections.
The suit was filed less than 24 hours after a bill, titled “Our City, Our Vote,” went into effect that grants most noncitizens the right to vote in local elections. Mayor Adams decided not to challenge the legislation after 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.
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.
However, legal experts have questioned its constitutionality, as do the Queens legislators named in the suit.
The plaintiffs also argue that the new law violates Section 5-102(1) of Chapter 17 state election law which states that “no person shall be qualified to register for and vote at any election unless he is a citizen of the United States.”
Furthermore, they argue in the suit that a public referendum is required to pass any law that changes the method of voting under the state’s Municipal Home Rule Law.
Holden, who represents Council District 30 in central Queens, said he joined the lawsuit because he believes the law is unconstitutional and “absurd.” He is the only Democratic lawmaker named in the suit.
“Citizenship and suffrage have always been tied together for good reason, and must never be torn from each other,” Holden said in a statement.
He also criticized a stipulation in the bill that only requires noncitizens to live in the city for 30 days prior to a local election.
Ariola, who represents Council District 32 in southeastern Queens, expressed her support for the lawsuit on social media Monday.
“Voting is the right of American citizens,” Ariola posted on Twitter.
“There are so many immigrants that came to this country and became citizens, who also oppose this legislation.”
This needs to go all the way to the supreme court so that they can have one umbrella law that says non-citizens are not able to vote in any election within the boundaries of the United States. I earned my citizenship and my right to vote using appropriate legal channels.
There are new open racists in the city council besides Bob Holden? What is the world coming to?
You’re an ignorant fool.
Well they are all elected Democratic Party members and claim that they are progressive. Oh wait, that’s not what you meant is it.
Not sure what you’re on about here. Are you equating the progressive challenges to systemic racism [ie. enfranchising nearly one million residents in an immigrant city] to regressive attempts to counter progress and keep the status quo [ie. the “Common Sense Caucus”]?
Please enlighten us with a detailed rationalisation of your position!
Why should non-citizens have a right to vote? Do they have a duty to serve?
Should the non-enfranchised have to pay taxes?
yes, they are protected by the police, the fire department will come to their house. If you lived and worked in another country, you would pay taxes as well.
very simple here. Read the states constitution. simple feelings are meaningless. The letter of law is what pervales. If you dont like the constitution have a constitutional convention and change it. Also the debate over if noncitizens should be allowed to vote in our elections should not include accusations of racism. It has become clear that people who weaponize racism are in fact the racist.
Disgusting. Racism and Xenophobia are so prevalent in NYC and today its coming from our own leaders. I hope this does lead to more bias harassment, discrimination, and acts of hate impacting people of color in NYC. Call your city and state representatives and tell them you support legal noncitizens to vote in local elections. Together we stand!
Correction….I hope this does NOT lead to more bias harassment, discrimination, and acts of hate impacting people of color in NYC.
It seems like most of the acts of hate are committed by people of color.
No , it’s not racism or anti – immigrants, there is a process . Without any order or process, governments can not function
my parents were immigrants, went through the process and waited for their time to vote legally
This is just another way Democrats will use immigrants for their votes , but will make it like look they are watching their backs .
Racism? From whom? Play by the rules: you want to vote, become a citizen! Feel free to vote in the SWISS elections – let’s see how far that goes.
sure, if we can go to the country you came from and vote for someone that destroys it even more. its only fair.
I don’t stand with you Lai ur.
Finally at least they will get to vote and I haven’t in years thanks to voter suppression.
If we don’t allow campaign donations from foreign nationals (which I’m sure we would all agree is bad) then why would we allow non-citizen voting?
Trump’s campaign was mostly financed by foreign nationals, and immigration spiked under his watch (no Wall). So why is this bad? Take your vitamin D!
I don’t support him, but he most certainly did not receive money from foreign nationals. Go to FEC.gov Stop getting your news from facebook. You are part of the problem.
You are both part of the problem. Get your own post names.
Dreamers def should be bale to vote I agree with that part.
Waste of time and money 🤦
I actually support this. I am first generation American, and both my parents went thru the legal process to both become natural citizens granting them right to vote in this country. It is a country of immigrants I get that but that shouldn’t mean we should bend the knee to them and grant them the right to vote. Whichever legislator drew up that language must’ve been some toy. If Dems really believe that underclass non-citizens in rural areas are gonna come out in droves to support them they clearly do not know there South America/Central American History. I really hope this comes to bite them where the sun don’t sine.
Nice job. You can bet that Julie Won won’t be joining them. She would vote for people in Mexico to be allowed to vote in all American elections.
This is complete hogwash. You come here, you become a citizen, then you can vote for laws and leaders.
To do anything else is UnAmerican!