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Republicans Celebrate as Court Overturns New York City Law That Allows Immigrants to Vote

In a significant legal decision, a state appeals court in New York has ruled that a law passed by New York City allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections is unconstitutional.

This ruling represents a victory for Republican officials who opposed the legislation and underscores the ongoing debate surrounding non-citizen voting rights.

Court Ruling Declares Law Unconstitutional

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The ruling, issued by Associate Justice Paul Wooten of the Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department in New York, determined that the law, enacted in 2022, violated the New York State Constitution and Municipal Home Rule Law.

As a result, the law has been declared null and void.

Legal Battle Over Non-Citizen Voting

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The legal battle over non-citizen voting rights has been ongoing since the passage of the law. Advocates, primarily progressive Democrats, argued that the law, known as the “Our City, Our Vote” bill, would enhance representation and inclusivity for immigrants in local politics.

Republican Opposition

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However, opponents, largely Republicans, raised concerns about potential voter fraud and logistical challenges.

Reaction from Republican Officials

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Republican leaders, including Council Republican leader Joe Borelli, expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision.

Legal Action

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Borelli, along with other plaintiffs, initiated legal action against the law shortly after its enactment in January 2022.

The ruling marks a victory for their efforts to challenge the constitutionality of the legislation.

Legal Analysis of the Ruling

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The appellate court’s ruling was based on interpretations of both the state constitution and the Municipal Home Rule Law.

The court concluded that voting rights, as outlined in the state constitution, are reserved exclusively for United States citizens.

Voter Referendum Also Needed

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Additionally, changes to election laws must be approved through voter referendum, rather than by local legislative bodies.

Impact and Rarity of Non-Citizen Voting

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While non-citizen voting remains rare in the United States, there has been a growing movement to legalize it in certain jurisdictions.

Cities That Allow Non Citizen Vote

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Washington, D.C., for example, has permitted non-citizens to vote, albeit facing legal challenges.

Similarly, San Francisco upheld a law allowing non-citizens to vote in school board elections, while several Vermont cities have recently adopted similar measures.

Ongoing Debate and Future Implications

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The court’s decision in New York City reflects the ongoing debate surrounding non-citizen voting rights and the balance between inclusivity and adherence to legal frameworks.

As legal battles continue and jurisdictions grapple with these issues, the future of non-citizen voting remains a topic of contention and exploration.

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