We welcome the decision by a New York State appeals court which declared New York City’s law entitling non-citizens to vote in certain municipal elections to be unconstitutional. Under the law passed in 2022 by the New York City Council, green card holders and others living in New York City with federal work authorizations would have been allowed to vote in primary and general elections for such offices as mayor, public advocate, city council seats and borough presidencies.

The court said that the provision in the New York State Constitution that “every citizen shall be entitled to vote…” refers exclusively to United States citizens. The court also referenced a section of the state election law that reads, “[no] person shall be qualified to register for and vote at any election unless he is a citizen of the United States,” and the New York State Municipal Home Rule Law requirement that any changes to election laws must be passed by the state legislature or by voter referendum and not by local legislatures.


In an instant the law made about 800,000 non-citizens eligible to vote and the impact on New York City local elections could be profound given the fact that the city has just under 5 million registered voters – and even less active voters – and a major effort to register the immigrants could reshape politics in New York, according to Politico.

Although the court clearly applied the plain language and meaning of the applicable legal provisions, the reactions of the mostly hard left progressive Democrats champions of the legislation made very plain what was in play.

The Executive Director of New York Immigration Coalition decried the ruling:

While we are still reviewing the decision and its impact on immigrant New Yorkers, the lawsuit remains another shameful attempt by xenophobic Republicans who would disenfranchise resident rather than promote a more inclusive and participatory democracy. Immigrant New Yorkers deserve a say in how their local government functions and spends their tax money and we remain committed to ensuring the expansion of voting rights.

So, for that crowd, it is of no moment what the laws or tradition may require. What counts is whether the results work for you.

We are particularly gratified that the decision came from the ordinarily liberal minded appellate court. It tells us that there may yet be light at the end of the woke tunnel.

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