Saturday, February 24, 2024

Appeals Court Knocks Down NY Non-Citizen Voting Rights

NYC’s Non-Citizen Voting Law Ruled Unconstitutional on Appeal

In a significant ruling, a state appeals court has declared that a New York City law allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections is unconstitutional. This decision marks a victory for Republican elected officials who had challenged the law in court.

The contested law, known as the "Our City, Our Vote" bill, was passed in 2022 with the aim of allowing green card holders and other individuals living in New York City with federal work authorization to participate in local elections for offices such as mayor and City Council. The law would have applied to approximately 800,000 new eligible voters in a city with a population of 8.5 million.

Championed by progressive Democrats, supporters argued that the bill would make politics more representative and create a more inclusive environment for immigrants. However, opponents—primarily Republicans—expressed concerns about potential logistical challenges leading to voter fraud. Some critics also suggested that Democrats were motivated by a desire to bolster their own numbers.

The lawsuit challenging the law was filed by several plaintiffs, including Council Republican leader Joe Borelli, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, and Borough President Vito Fossella. A Staten Island lower court judge initially struck down the law months after it was enacted in January 2022.

The recent appeals court ruling was based on two key points:

1. State Constitution: The court determined that the clause in the New York State Constitution stating that "every citizen shall be entitled to vote" refers exclusively to United States citizens. Therefore, non-citizens do not fall under this provision.

2. Municipal Home Rule Law: The court ruled that changes to elections must be passed by voter referendum rather than solely by a local legislature. Allowing non-citizens to vote would constitute a significant change, and the council and mayor failed to put this issue on the ballot for voters to decide.

Appellate Judge Paul Wooten wrote in the majority decision: "We determine that this local law was enacted in violation of the New York State Constitution and Municipal Home Rule Law, and thus, must be declared null and void."

While Mayor Eric Adams' administration had defended the law and appealed the lower court's ruling against it, this latest decision upholds Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzio's initial ruling from June 2022.

Judge Lilian Wan issued a dissenting opinion, arguing that invalidating the noncitizen voting law effectively prevents municipalities across the state from deciding who is entitled to participate in local elections. She emphasized that duly elected representatives had opted to enfranchise these residents.

In conclusion, this appeals court decision has settled an ongoing debate about non-citizen voting rights in New York City. While some may view it as disenfranchisement, others see it as upholding constitutional principles and maintaining clarity regarding eligibility for voting rights.

This decision was a no-brainer. How can non-citizens vote in a nation where they are not citizens?  This goes to show us that the council men and women voted into the City Council are not well educated folks. Any educated American or even a national from another nations knows that only citizens can vote in any particular nation, not just the United States of America. Think about it. What if I were to go to Canada, England, Spain or Japan and vote? I would steer those nations in a different manner. First, I would not know their laws. Second, I would not know their current events in the political field. Third, I would not know the details surrouding day to day living in those nations. This is because I am not a citizen! I am just visting! It would make absolutely no sense to have the power to vote in a nation that is not mine from conception and birth where I am not naturalized.  

Kudos to the Republicans for appealing this stupid law passed by the City Council. It makes no sense and was dead on arrival, so to speak. Perhaps the Democrat majority in the City Council wanted to skew the voting in their favor by getting more voters? 


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Sources:

1. [NYC’s non-citizen voting law ruled unconstitutional on appeal - POLITICO New York](https://www.politico.com/news/2024/02/21/nyc-non-citizen-voting-law-unconstitutional-00142525)

2. [NYC non-citizen voting law struck down as unconstitutional - New York Post](https://nypost.com/2024/02/21/us-news

Appeals court rules NYC law allowing noncitizens to vote in local elections violates state constitution  | The Hill

NYC non-citizen voting law struck down as unconstitutional (nypost.com)

NYC non-citizen voting law struck down | Fox News

NYC’s non-citizen voting law ruled unconstitutional on appeal - POLITICO

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