New York, Dec 9 (EFE).- The New York City Council approved on Thursday a proposal to allow an estimated 900,000 Big Apple residents who are not United States citizens to cast ballots in municipal elections.
The author of the bill, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, told Efe that the passage of the measure after three failed attempts over 12 years was due to a successful mobilization by civil society organizations.
A crowd of supporters gathered on the steps outside as the overwhelmingly Democratic council voted 33-14 in favor with two abstentions.
The right to vote in elections for mayor, public advocate, city council and the presidents of the five boroughs – Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island – will be extended to people with permanent legal residence (Green Cards) and work permits.
Also eligible are beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects undocumented young people who were brought to the US as children.
Set to take effect Jan. 1, the ordinance will open voter’s registration to qualified non-citizens in December 2022 and allow those people vote starting in January 2023.
Non-citizen voters will be issue different registration cards and will vote on separate ballots.
New York is the most populous city in the US and has by far the largest number of immigrants as a proportion of total population.
The chairman of the New York state Republican Party, Nick Langworthy, denounced the city council vote as a “dangerous attack on our election integrity.”
“We will fight, using every legal means necessary, to prevent this legislation from becoming law. Stay tuned for further announcements about our legal action,” he said in a statement. EFE rh/dr