NY Court Rules Against Noncitizens Voting in NYC

By Matis Glenn

New York Supreme Court building (123rf)

New York State’s Supreme Court ruled Monday that New York City’s law allowing undocumented and green card-bearing immigrants to vote in municipal elections violates the State constitution. The law, which would have allowed over 800,000 immigrants to vote, was passed by the city council in December 2021, and was set to take effect year.

The bill was controversial even for liberals; neither former Mayor Bill De Blasio nor current Mayor Eric Adams agreed to sign the bill into law, but they would not veto it either. Bills that are left in such a way automatically become law.

A lawsuit was filed by Republican city councilmembers, Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella, the New York State Republican Senate Committee, and the Republican National Committee, and the case was taken up by New York’s lower court. They say that allowing noncitizens to vote is against the State constitution, would dilute the voting power of citizens, and radically change the political landscape.

Judge Ralph Porzio was not swayed by the latter two arguments, but wrote that it is a clear violation of the State constitution and legal codes. “The New York State Constitution expressly states that citizens meeting the age and residency requirements are entitled to register and vote in elections,” Porzio wrote in his conclusion. The term “citizen” is used again in New York State’s Election Law, quoted in the ruling.

Democratic City Councilman Kalman Yeger was opposed to the bill when it was first voted on. “I voted against this unconstitutional law last year because our State’s Constitution and Election Law make clear that only United States citizens may vote in New York,” Yeger told Hamodia. “That’s the law of our state, and today the court wisely put this question to rest.” 

“Voting is a sacred right and privilege that is granted exclusively to citizens of the United States of America,” Councilwoman Inna Vernikov(R) told Hamodia. “As an immigrant and an immigration lawyer by profession, I am proud to be a plaintiff in this lawsuit.”

City Councilman Justin Brannan(D), was very unhappy with Republicans celebrating the ruling. “Only a ghoul would take a victory lap on this!” he tweeted, in response to Representative Nicole Malliotakis(R)’ message that the decision was “A big victory in our fight to preserve the integrity of our elections.”


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