Democratic legislators in New York City are seeking to increase their voter base. For that reason, they intend to impose legislation that would enable more than 800,000 “non-citizen” residents living in the city to vote in the next elections.
The bill is known as “Our City, Our Vote” and would allow legal permanent residents and those with work authorization to participate in the municipal elections. The measure would affect some 800,000 New Yorkers, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
The controversial bill is set to be approved by the council next month, and if so, will cause a drastic change in local elections.
The measure also has the support of newly elected Mayor Eric Adams, giving it even more weight.
Adams, who won in November against Republican Curtis Sliwa, repeatedly voiced his support for the bill during his campaign. The Democrat will officially take office in January.
Supporters of the bill report that it will ultimately enfranchise some 800,000 New York residents who are green card holders, DACA recipients, or some visa that allows them to be in the country legally.
It is worth noting that the new voting base will represent a more than significant percentage of the electorate, considering that the city currently has a total of 5.6 million eligible voters.
In testimony presented to the city council in September, Adams said he was proud to be part of the initiative’s campaign and continues to support its passage.
“Currently, almost one million New Yorkers are denied this foundational right,” he wrote according to Newsweek. “They work here, pay taxes here, support local businesses here, and yet, they have no say in the functioning of the local government under which they must live. No democracy should have constituents who have no pathway to effect the management of their representative government.”
While Democratic states and cities are targeting these types of policies to expand their voter base, Republicans, and especially those who are suffering first-hand from the immigration crisis in the country, are taking preventive measures to avoid the emergence of this type of law that empowers immigrants and the politicians who take advantage of them.
Such is the case of Alabama, Colorado, and Florida who passed legislation last year specifying that only U.S. citizens can vote. Arizona and North Dakota also do not allow non-citizens to vote in state and local elections.
However, not all progressive Democrats seem to agree. While not speaking out against the policy, Outgoing mayor Bill de Blasio said he has “mixed feelings” about the bill.
In principle, he said in a dialogue with The Times, election laws “should be decided at the state level, according to state law.”