NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There’s a push in the New York City Council to allow non-U.S. citizens to vote in citywide elections.
The measure sponsored by Queens councilman Daniel Dromm would allow legal non-citizen residents of New York City to vote in municipal elections. The proposal came up for a hearing Thursday.
“These are people who work, they have jobs, they pay taxes. To not allow them to vote violates the fundamental principle upon which this country was founded and that is, no taxation without representation. These people are paying taxes, these people are contributing to society. They deserve and they demand the right to vote in municipal elections,” Dromm told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb.
Dromm estimates his proposal would give 800,000 legal resident non-citizens the right to vote. They would not be able to cast a ballot in state or federal elections.
Opponents say voting should be reserved for citizens.
New York state election law prohibits immigrants from voting, but supporters say the city has the right to set its own policies for local elections.
“When all contributing members of our society can participate, democracy is better served and everyone benefits,” Dromm said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is opposed to the proposal. He “believes 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,” spokeswoman Evelyn Erskine said in a statement, also noting that the proposal contravenes state law.
Dromm said the proposal has enough support to override a veto, should it get to that point.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who exercises considerable control over what measures come to a vote, hasn’t taken a position on the proposal. She said Wednesday she was looking forward to finding out more about it at Thursday’s hearing.
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