New York City is poised to become the first major city to grant non-citizens the right to vote.
The New York City Council’s committeess on immigration and government relations will today hold joint hearings on a proposal that would allow non-citizens to vote in city elections, and backers of the effort say they have a veto-proof majority, according to the New York Daily News.
Citizenship is currently a requirement for voters throughout New York State, but this legislation, “Voting By Non-Citizen Residents,” would change that, allowing immigrants who are “lawfully present in the United States” and have lived in the city for longer than six months to vote.
“This is extremely important, because it’s based on the founding principle of this country and that was, ‘No Taxation Without Representation.’ All of the people who would be included in this and would be allowed to vote are paying taxes, they’ve contributed to society,” Councilman Daniel Dromm, a co-sponsor of the proposal, told Talking Points Memo.
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg opposes the measure. He said through a spokeswoman that “voting is the most important right we are granted as citizens and you should have to go through the process of becoming a citizen and declaring allegiance to this country before being given that right.” The legislation currently has enough support in the city council, however, to override the mayor’s veto.