New York City, NY

NYC Set to Give Nearly a Million Non-citizens Voting Rights

Genius Turner

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A landmark voting bill, if passed, will allow legal residents and others to vote in city elections.(April Sikorski/Wikimedia Commons)

If approved, this bill will make NYC the largest municipality in American history to allow legal residents voting rights

New York City — I once overheard someone remark: "If you gotta pay taxes to Uncle Sam, that same uncle should allow you to vote!"

Of all the political slogans uttered throughout history, at the core, they all say the same thing: "Every vote counts." After all, the right to vote is among the most basic rights of citizenship.

"Noncitizen voting is a matter of basic fairness," Tali Weinstein writes. "People who live, work and pay taxes in our communities should have a say in how they are governed."

Despite Mayor Bill de Blasio's objections, the NY Times reports:

The City Council is planning to approve a bill that would allow more than 800,000 non-citizen New Yorkers to register as members of political parties and vote in municipal elections, provided they are green card holders or have the right to work in the United States.

The measure is expected to be approved on Dec. 9.

Of course, the measure itself raises that age-old debate regarding who should be allowed to participate in the nation's democratic process. In de Blasio's view, there are "two problems" with the bill.

"One, I don't believe it is legal," the Mayor said. "Our law department is very clear on this."

Mayor-elect Adams, however, sees things differently. "We cannot be a beacon to the world and continue to attract the global talent, energy and entrepreneurship [...] if we do not give immigrants a vote in how this city is run and what our priorities are for the future."

In short, the widespread support for the bill is seemingly rooted in common sense. After all, for immigrants to live legally in New York City and pay taxes, yet have no say in who represents them politically, seems to be at odds with a pillar of the American Revolution — Founding Father Thomas Paine's "Common Sense."

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New York City, NY
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