The New York City Council approved a historic measure on Thursday that allows noncitizens to vote in local elections.
"Fifty years down the line when our children look back at this moment they will see a diverse coalition of advocates who came together to write a new chapter in New York City's history by giving immigrant New Yorkers the power of the ballot," Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, the bill's main sponsor, said.
Under the measure, noncitizens who have been lawful permanent residents of New York City for at least 30 days and those who are authorized to work in the United States will be able to hit the ballot box starting in early 2023, The Guardian reports. They can vote for mayor, city council members, comptroller, public advocates, and borough presidents, but won't be able to vote in state or federal elections.
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The measure affects about 800,000 green card holders and Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. with their parents as children. The bill, which will automatically become law in 30 days if it isn't signed or vetoed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, could face legal challenges, with opponents questioning whether the city council has the authority to grant voting rights to noncitizens. Currently, there are about a dozen towns in Maryland and Vermont that allow noncitizens to vote in local elections.
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