Posted by on January 11, 2022 7:07 am
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Republicans hit NYC voting law that lets noncitizens cast ballots

Eric Adams, Brooklyn borough president and Democratic candidate for New York City mayor, speaks during a debate with Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa at the ABC-7 studios in New York, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Eduardo Munoz/Pool Photo via AP) EDUARDO MUNOZ/AP

Republicans hit NYC voting law that lets noncitizens cast ballots

Sarah Westwood January 11, 07:00 AMJanuary 11, 07:00 AM

A new voting law in New York City that will allow as many as 800,000 noncitizens to participate in local elections has sparked Republican opposition and renewed debates about who should enjoy the right to vote — and in which elections.

New York’s City Council approved the new voting rules in December, and former Mayor Bill de Blasio declined to veto them before leaving office.

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Newly inaugurated Mayor Eric Adams had previously questioned a residency requirement in the legislation, which granted noncitizens the right to vote in local elections if they can prove they’ve lived in New York City for 30 days.

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“I understand the importance of local elections, but to give that power to someone that’s here for 30 days, I think that’s [a] problem,” Adams said earlier this month.

Adams ultimately declined to use his veto power on the bill and supported the legislation after it automatically became law Sunday at midnight.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy weighed in against it on Monday.

“Only American citizens should decide the outcome of American elections,” McCarthy wrote on Twitter.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican from New York, echoed McCarthy’s sentiments Monday, writing that “American citizens should decide American elections.”

Joe Walsh, a former Republican congressman and prominent anti-Trump voice, said removing the citizenship requirement for elections at any level is “wrong.”

“Requiring citizenship to vote is just common sense,” Walsh wrote on Monday.

Adams evaded questions from CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday about the effect the law could have on people seeking to complete the often complicated process of applying for citizenship to secure the right to vote through the traditional channels. The new mayor said he would encourage any prospective citizen to pursue full citizenship anyway.

Noncitizens everywhere still can’t vote in many elections, despite growing interest in extending some local voting rights to their communities.

Congress passed a law in 1996 barring noncitizens from participating in federal elections. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act limited participation in presidential and congressional elections to U.S. citizens and made voting in those elections a deportable offense for undocumented noncitizens.

But the idea of creating exceptions for certain elections at the local level has gained traction in recent years.

In Illinois, a Democratic state senator representing the Chicago area is pushing to allow noncitizens to vote in school board elections.

Sen. Celina Villanueva introduced legislation that would allow noncitizens across Illinois to vote in school board elections, citing data from the Chicago Teachers Union that shows more than 40% of Chicago’s students are from immigrant families.

Several cities in Massachusetts, including Somerville and Cambridge, have pursued measures to allow noncitizen voting in municipal elections. However, the state Legislature has not yet taken up legislation that would allow local leaders to make those kinds of decisions.

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Many states require decisions about noncitizen voting to be made or approved at the state level. Maryland, which has 11 towns that allow noncitizens to vote in local elections, does not.

College Park, Maryland, held the title of the largest U.S. city to grant noncitizens the right to cast ballots in municipal elections when its city council approved the practice in 2017.

Takoma Park, Maryland, was one of the first U.S. cities to open up local elections to noncitizens in 1992.

Defending the move to grant limited voting rights to noncitizens, then-Montgomery County Council Member George Leventhal, a Democrat, argued in 2012 that noncitizens may have incentives in federal elections that conflict with their neighbors. However, he said it’s not that way in local elections.

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Originally appeared at Washington Examiner

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