New York City is preparing to welcome around 800,000 non-citizen immigrant residents to vote in local elections. The New York City Council plans to allow the migrants to vote according to legislation known as “Our City, Our Vote.”
Migrants with green cards or another legal status will be able to vote under the new city legislation. DACA “dreamers” will also be included. Non-citizens will be given particular registration forms to receive a “local-only” ballot at polling stations.
The new rules will require additional training for poll workers and voter education programs to help make sure that voters receive a ballot that matches their voting eligibility.
Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that he has mixed feelings about the new voting rules. He stated that allowing non-citizens to vote could disincentivize them from seeking citizenship. He added that he believes voting eligibility rules should be set by state law rather than city ordinance.
The council is expected to move forward with a vote on the bill on December 9, and the measure appears to have enough votes on the council to override a mayoral veto.
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez told reporters that he supports the bill because Democrat politicians can use it to support claims that voting rights are endangered because of Republicans nationwide. He added that national Democrats could use the new legislation to argue that New York City is taking progressive steps to expand voting.
Meanwhile, Republicans are battling to make non-citizen voting a permanent part of legislation in locations outside of New York City. Last month, the Republican National Committee announced that it planned to sue two cities in Vermont for changing their charters to allow non-citizen voting.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said that Democrats are attacking the integrity of American elections. In addition to moving against popular protections like voter ID, she specifically mentioned non-citizen voting as a radical proposal. She said Republicans will “fight in all 50 states” to preserve the principle that elections should be “decided solely by American citizens.”