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NYC non-citizen voting law struck down as unconstitutional

A controversial New York City law that would have allowed 800,000 non-citizens, but legal residents, to vote in municipal elections was struck down as unconstitutional by a state appeals court Wednesday.

“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,” Appellate Judge Paul Wooten wrote in the 3-1 majority decision.

Wooten said the state constitution broadly refers to only citizens having the right to vote in elections, municipal as well as statewide or for state legislative offices.

“Article IX provides that the elected officials of `local governments’ shall be elected by “the people, which incorporates by reference the eligibility requirements for voting under article II, section 1, applying exclusively to `citizens,’” the judge wrote.

The decision upholds a lower court ruling issued by Staten Island Supreme Court Justice Ralph Porzio in June of 2022, which Mayor Eric Adams and the City Council had appealed.

Writing for the Appellate Division’s 2nd Department, Wooten said if non-citizens are allowed to vote, it stands to reason they could also run for mayor.

He ruled such a dramatic change violated the Municipal Home Rule Law, saying the council and mayor had failed to put the issue on the ballot for voters to decide.

Judges Angela Iannacci and Helen Voutsinas concurred in the ruling.

Judge Lilian Wan issued a dissenting opinion.

“The majority, by deeming the noncitizen voting law invalid, effectively prohibits municipalities across the state from deciding for themselves the persons who are entitled to a voice in the local electoral process,” she wrote.


Migrants standing outside Candler Building on 41st St. in New York City.
A controversial New York City law that would allow 800,000 non-citizens to vote in municipal elections was struck down as unconstitutional by a state appeals court Wednesday. Aristide Economopoulos

“The majority’s determination also disenfranchises nearly one million residents of the City, despite the fact that its people’s duly elected representatives have opted to enfranchise those same residents.”

Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella was the lead plaintiff in the case along with Assemblyman Michael Tannousis (R-Staten Island), among others.

“During a time where nearly 200,000 migrants have flooded our city and streets, disrupting the public and attacking our police officers, my colleagues and I have worked tirelessly to protect our voting laws which were created for citizens of the United States,” Tannousis said.

“Democracy always wins and I am proud to say it was delivered yet again today.”

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) was also among the lawmakers who applauded the decision.


Voting boxes
“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,” Appellate Judge Paul Wooten wrote in the 3-1 majority decision. adamkaz

“There is nothing more important than preserving the integrity of our election system, and in today’s age, the government should be working to create more trust in our elections, not less,” the congresswoman said.

“The right to vote is a sacred right given only to United States citizens. It is my hope that left wing lawmakers stop pushing these unconstitutional and reckless measures that dilute the voices of American citizens,” she added.

A city Law Department spokesman said, “We’re reviewing the court’s decision and evaluating next steps.”

Written by SaleemBaloch

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