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Is NY right to allow non-citizens to vote?

WRITTEN BY
01/12/22
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Fact Box

  • On January 9, 2022, Mayor Eric Adams allowed noncitizens the right to vote in municipal elections after the bill was approved December 9, 2021 with a 33-14 vote. The law applies to any adult who “has been a lawful permanent resident in the city for more than 30 days.”
  • A total of fifteen municipalities let noncitizens vote in local elections as of January 2022; eleven from Maryland, two in Vermont, one in New York City, and the last in California. 
  • The US Congress passed a law blocking noncitizens from voting in federal elections in 1996, but the law “did not address state or local elections.”
  • According to the US Census Bureau, the population of New York was 19.8 million on July 1, 2021. 
  • Forty-eight million immigrants populate the United States with New York at 4.54 million immigrants, which is 23% of its population in 2021.

Tyler (Yes)

New York is at the forefront of progression by deciding that non-citizens should be allowed to vote. The decision stems from a significant portion of the population expressing their qualms about being politically alienated due to their residential status. American citizenship or not, there are many ways residents and non-citizens contribute and benefit society and the cities in which they live. 

New York has a high immigrant population; one in every nine voting-age adults are non-citizens. 47% of New York City residents speak a language other than English. The state, particularly New York City, is a melting pot for immigrants and exchange students. Students who qualify for the DREAM act will now vote despite not yet being citizens. Over 1,000 New York City students take part in this program and will have an in-depth view of the city's inner workings by the time they graduate, meaning they should be able to voice their opinion. 

The new law requires proof that a person has lived in the state for at least a month, showing that they have some involvement/ties to the state. Voting is a decision that requires time and effort, and those that take this right seriously should be allowed to do so despite their citizenship status. Non-citizens serve in the military, pay taxes, and benefit the nation in many other ways. This decision will allow for more diverse opinions to be heard and will finally enable this often-overlooked population in the US to accurately be represented in the democratic process.


Curtice (No)

There was a time in America when citizenship meant something, but New York City's plan to allow non-citizens to vote is many things, all of them wrong. It is not only in violation of constitutional law that 'born or naturalized citizens' vote but is also a clear violation of New York's own state constitution. Many GOP members of the New York Assembly and constitutional experts have raised concerns about its constitutional legality. Specifically, Article 2, Section 1, grants the right to vote to 'every citizen' 18 years of age or older. It doesn't say every person or even every resident, but 'every citizen.' It is not ambiguous.  

Beyond that, citizenship implies certain rights and responsibilities, including the right to vote. Allowing residents, immigrants, and even green-card holders—who still remain citizens of other countries—to vote dilutes and certainly cheapens the votes of actual American citizens, both those born here and those who became citizens through the proper and legal process.

Democrats see how Joe Biden's incompetant presidency has resulted in historically low poll numbers. They see recent election results that predict poor returns in the November 2022 election. This seems to be an open ploy at pulling out all the political stops for partisan politicians to gain electoral advantages in upcoming elections. This scheme benefits the Democratic Party, which doles out appealing yet costly social programs, keeping people dependent on the government.

If the right to vote is not reserved and protected only for citizens, then citizenship means nothing. No other country gives foreign nationals the right to vote. This transparent attempt by the New York Democrats to usurp elections in their favor suggests that holding and retaining power is their main objective.

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