Noncitizens can’t vote in municipal elections, a Staten Island judge ruled Monday, striking down a law recently enacted in New York that made more than 800,000 adults eligible to vote for mayor, public attorney and president. other municipal positions from next year.
The New York City Council passed the “Our City, Our Vote” bill in December 2021, which then-Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to sign. The bill automatically entered into force in January.
“I believe New Yorkers should have a say in their government, which is why I have and will continue to support this important legislation,” Adams said in a statement after the law was signed into law.
The law did not allow noncitizens to vote for state or federal office.
“The New York State Constitution explicitly lays the foundation to ensure that only proper citizens retain the right to voting privileges. It is the belief of this court that by not expressly including noncitizens in the New York State Constitution, it was the intention of the framers to omit noncitizens,” said Judge Ralph Porzio, adding, “Although voting is a right, so many citizens take it for granted. »
Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, said the organization will continue to fight to “ensure that the nearly one million New Yorkers who build their lives here and invest in our communities can have a say in their local democracy.”
“We refuse to allow today’s verdict to reinforce the disenfranchisement of black and brown communities in New York City,” he added.
The ruling is a victory for Republican lawmakers who filed a lawsuit to block the measure.
“Today’s ruling validates those of us who can read the plain English terms of the State Constitution and Statutes: Non-citizen voting in New York is illegal and shame on those who thought they could bend the law for political gain,” the city council’s minority leader said. Joseph Borelli said in a statement Monday.
He continued: “Opposition to this measure was bipartisan and cut across countless neighborhoods and ethnicities, but progressives chose to ignore both our constitution and public sentiment in order to meet their goals. I commend the court for acknowledging reality and reminding professionals in New York’s protesting class that the rule of law matters.”
Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, who was among the plaintiffs, said US elections “should be decided by American citizens”.
“The RNC is proud to lead a broad coalition to successfully challenge this unconstitutional regime and will continue to lead the effort across the country to ensure that only citizens can vote in US elections,” she said.
A spokesperson for the New York City Legal Department told ABC News, “This is a disappointing court decision for people who value bringing thousands more New Yorkers into the democratic process. We are evaluating the next steps.
Mayor Eric Adams’ office did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
An appeal is expected.
ABC News’ Kyla Guilfoil contributed to this report.