Non-U.S. citizens in NYC rally over rule making them unable to vote in local elections
Non-U.S. citizens living in the city rallied outside City Hall Monday after a state Supreme Court judge found a law allowing certain non-citizens to vote in local elections violates the state’s constitution.
“We have been here most of our lives,” said Angel Salazar, of Staten Island. “This is where I had my childhood, went to school, and had my first job so it’s disappointing.”
The municipal voting law became effective in January. The law allowed non-citizens legally working and taking permanent residency in New York City to vote in local elections starting in 2023.
State court Judge Ralph Porzio ruled the law violates the constitution, with the court deeming the word “citizens” in the constitution and two other laws is only applicable to U.S. citizens.
“This system was not built for us,” added Cesar Ruiz, of the group Latino Justice. “It was built on our backs.”
The constitution says nothing can “dilute” voters’ rights. The court acknowledged that the surge of voters because of the law would do exactly that. The influx of almost 1 million voters “significantly devalues the votes of the New York citizens who have lawfully and meaningfully earned the right to vote,” reads the court’s ruling.
Attorneys representing the defendants told News 12 they will now put in an application for a stay before an appeal.
The lead plaintiff, Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella, called the ruling a victory and that he and the other plaintiffs needed to stand up for reason" and commonsense.