Law Insider India

Legal News, Current Trends and Legal Insight | Supreme Court of India and High Courts

New York SC Strikes Down the law allowing noncitizens to vote as illegal

2 min read

Shashwati Chowdhury

Published on: June 28, 2022 at 18:04 IST

A New York City Law allowing noncitizen residents to cast votes in municipal elections was declared illegal by the New York Supreme Court on Monday.

The law, which was passed by the New York City Council in December 2021, created a class of voters known as “municipal voters,” who are noncitizens who register or pre-register to vote and reside in the city for at least 30 days before to an election. Elections for the mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, and council member were open to municipal voters under the law.

According to Richmond County Supreme Court Judge Ralph Porzio’s, “The New York State Constitution explicitly lays the foundation for ascertaining that only proper citizens retain the right to vote privileges.”

After former Mayor Bill de Blasio and current Mayor Eric Adams both declined to sign or veto the bill, it first became law automatically. De Blasio had openly voiced his concerns about it and recognized that there were “huge legal questions” involved. Additionally, he had expressed concern that the city’s noncitizen population, which is estimated to number between 800,000 and 1 million, would have less incentive to become citizens.

Porzio also cited New York Election Law section 5-102(1), which states that a person must be a citizen of the United States in order to become eligible to register for and cast a vote in any election. Additionally, he determined that the city law violated the Municipal Home Rule Law, which says that local governments can adopt their own laws so far as they are “not inconsistent with” the state constitution or other laws “relating to its property, affairs of government.”

Porzio concluded by granting an injunction preventing city authorities from registering noncitizens to vote as well as a declaratory judgement stating that the city law is void.