Thomas Gallatin / December 2, 2021

NYC Dems to Grant Voting Rights to Noncitizens

The city council is on the brink of granting suffrage to 800,000 green-card holders.

Democrats in New York City are pushing through plans to give voting rights in municipal elections to some 800,000 green-card-holding noncitizen residents in the Big Apple. Democrat Mayor-elect Eric Adams backs the plan. Outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio is hesitant: “This is something that … I’m not sure is legally what a city can do. I think it’s something the state government needs to do.” He nevertheless does not “see a scenario where I’ll veto.” The city council plans to vote on the measure on December 9.

De Blasio is in fact accurate, as the State of New York’s constitution rightly ties voting rights with citizenship: “Every citizen shall be entitled to vote at every election for all officers elected by the people … provided that such citizen is eighteen years of age or over and shall have been a resident of this state, and of the county, city, or village for thirty days next preceding an election, [and] laws shall be made for ascertaining, by proper proofs, the citizens who shall be entitled to the right of suffrage hereby established.” Furthermore, the constitution requires “elections by the citizens.”

There are no states that allow noncitizen voting, though there are several blue cities that have permitted it.

Democrats contend that since many of these noncitizen residents pay taxes, not permitting them to vote equates to taxation without representation. That’s a dubious rationale, as it boils down citizenship to basic residency and taxation, without acknowledging the much broader and profound nature of citizenship.

No fewer than five constitutional amendments limit and bind voting rights to U.S. citizenship. Indeed, it is a felony for a noncitizen to vote in a federal election. Fundamentally, citizenship represents social commitment and identity. To be an American is to be a citizen of the United States.

National Review’s New York-based editors astutely note the problem: “Adding the votes of non-citizens dilutes the votes of citizens as well as the value of citizenship itself. Moreover, while the push for legal resident voting is couched in part in the rhetoric of taxation without representation, anyone who has followed progressive politics can confidently predict that the success of these measures will lead to further efforts to enfranchise ‘undocumented’ illegal aliens next. But non-citizens are not a separate, oppressed class; those who choose to become citizens are, like citizens under age 18, passing through a temporary status.”

In truth, this move by New York City Democrats is not surprising, as it is consistent with the anti-American direction of the national party at large. Joe Biden’s de facto open-borders policy only makes sense in light of the goal of eventually granting some form of voting rights, whether via citizenship or via residency status to noncitizens.

Finally, even if New York City follows through on this plan, it will be challenged in court for running afoul of the Empire State’s constitution.


Update: The measure passed 33-14.

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