New York City Council is expected to approve a measure to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections on Thursday.
If approved by the council and signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, people who have been lawful permanent residents for at least 30 days will be able to vote for offices including mayor, city council, borough presidents, comptroller and public advocate.
The measure will not give non-citizens the right to vote in state or federal elections, including governor, state judges or state legislators.
According to a report from the Associated Press, de Blasio has raised concerns about the wisdom and legality of the legislation, but said he won’t veto it. He has expressed serious concern that it will not withstand a legal challenge.
“Look, there’s obviously an argument: We want people involved, we want to hear people’s voices,” de Blasio recently said on the television news program “Inside City Hall,” according to the report.
“I still have a concern about it. Citizenship has an extraordinary value. People work so hard for it,” he said. “We need people in every good way to want to be citizens.”
There are currently 11 towns in Maryland and two in Vermont that allow non-citizens and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients to vote in local elections.
“San Francisco, through a ballot initiative ratified by voters in 2016, began allowing noncitizens to vote in school board elections — which was also true in New York City until it abolished its boards in 2002 and gave control of schools to the mayor,” the AP report states. “The move in Democrat-controlled New York City is a counterpoint to restrictions being enacted in some states, where Republicans have espoused unsupported claims of rampant fraud by noncitizens in federal elections.”
Voters in Alabama, Colorado and Florida have adopted measures to ratify policies that non-citizens are ineligible to vote and Arizona and North Dakota have added rules to prevent measures like the one in NYC from being enacted.
Joseph Borelli, the Republican minority leader of the City Council, has said that the measure will definitely be taken to court.
“It devalues citizenship, and citizenship is the standard by which the state constitution issues or allows for suffrage in New York state elections at all levels,” Borelli told the AP.