A coalition of civil organizations asked the City Council of New York for the “immediate” approval of a bill to extend the right to vote in municipal elections to immigrants with permanent residence or “green card” in the country or work permit and that today he had his first public hearing.
The bill, which still does not have a date for the vote in the full Council, and which was presented by the councilor of Dominican origin Ydanis Rodríguez, would allow voting in primaries, special elections or the general elections of the city, but not of the state.
According to Rodríguez, in contrast to the growing attacks on voting rights throughout the country by Republicans, this city can set an example of how democracy can be seen in one of the largest cities in the country by passing this legislation. and giving the vote to New Yorkers who haven’t had a voice for too long.
Members of the Our City, Our Vote coalition together with immigrants with the “green card” (green card in Spanish) gathered today in front of the mayor’s office to ask for the support of the councilors, with a Democratic majority, and participate in the public hearing.
“I want to make it very clear to everyone. Neither federal nor state law prevent the city from extending the right to vote in municipal elections to non-citizens,” Rodríguez recalled, according to a statement.
Twelve municipalities across the country already allow permanent residents to vote in certain types of local elections. Nine were in Maryland, two in Vermont and one in San Francisco, California, according to the ballotpedia election information website.
“It is not about taxes without representation. We must recognize the contributions made by immigrants. It is not about granting a favor by allowing them to vote. If they pay their taxes, they should have the right to elect their leaders,” he said.
He also recalled that the city of Tacoma Park in Maryland is one of those that allows non-citizens to vote in its municipal elections since the 1990s.
For his part, Councilor Carlos Menchaca, president of the Immigration Committee, and co-author of the project, recalled that there are around one million immigrants who could be eligible to vote in local elections.
“It is time that we restore the voting rights of all New Yorkers,” he said.
The Democratic candidate for mayor of New York, Eric Adams, has also supported the project. “The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy. However, we do not give immigrants a vote on how our city is run and what our priorities are for the future,” he said.
It is not the first time that attempts have been made in the New York City Council to extend the vote to immigrants with permanent residence, but so far none have obtained the necessary support to move forward.