You are reading

Three Queens Council Members, Including Bob Holden, Join Lawsuit to Block Noncitizen Voting Law

Council Members Joann Ariola (L) Vickie Paladino (C) and Robert Holden (R) have signed onto a lawsuit with leaders of the New York state Republican Party arguing a new city law that allows legal noncitizens to vote in local elections is unconstitutional (Photos via Facebook)

Council Members Joann Ariola (L) Vickie Paladino (C) and Robert Holden (R) have signed onto a lawsuit with leaders of the New York state Republican Party arguing a new city law that allows legal noncitizens to vote in local elections is unconstitutional (Photos via Facebook)

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.

Three Queens Council Members have joined a lawsuit which aims to block the city’s new law allowing legal noncitizens to vote in local elections (Photo by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

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.”

email the author: [email protected]

27 Comments

Click for Comments 
Concerned Citizen

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.

Reply
Is the earth round?

There are new open racists in the city council besides Bob Holden? What is the world coming to?

2
27
Reply
Anon

Well they are all elected Democratic Party members and claim that they are progressive. Oh wait, that’s not what you meant is it.

Reply
What is your definition of racism?

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!

Reply
Gardens Watcher

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.

14
Reply
Lucky number 7 train

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.

27
1
Reply
Lai

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!

3
45
Reply
Lai

Correction….I hope this does NOT lead to more bias harassment, discrimination, and acts of hate impacting people of color in NYC.

3
31
Reply
Bench warmer

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 .

30
1
Reply
The Lefty is Loony

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.

24
Reply
ABoondy

sure, if we can go to the country you came from and vote for someone that destroys it even more. its only fair.

20
1
Reply
Nathaniel

Finally at least they will get to vote and I haven’t in years thanks to voter suppression.

3
27
Reply
Gardens Watcher OG Imitator

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?

32
1
Reply
Gardens Watcher

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!

2
17
Reply
Gardens Watcher

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.

12
2
Reply
Edd

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.

24
4
Reply
Jim

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.

22
3
Reply
I agree with them.

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!

42
1
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News