Speed Reads

Expanding the Franchise

Non-citizens can now vote in NYC elections

A New York City bill allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections became law Sunday after Mayor Eric Adams declined to veto it, The Associated Press reports.

The new "Our City, Our Vote" measure will reportedly enfranchise around 800,000 legal, non-citizen New York City residents, including green card holders and "Dreamers" brought to the U.S. illegally as children and benefiting from deferred action.

The bill passed the City Council in December "despite concerns from more than a dozen lawmakers, former Mayor Bill de Blasio, and some constitutional experts," The New York Post reported. Even Adams expressed ambivalence about the proposal before finally announcing Saturday that he supported it.

The city's Board of Elections must submit an implementation plan by July. They will also have to print separate ballots for municipal races since non-citizens will still be barred from voting in statewide and presidential elections.

Non-citizens can vote in all local contests in around a dozen smaller towns in Maryland and Vermont and in San Francisco school board elections. New York is the first major U.S. city to give non-citizens the right to cast ballots in all local races.