Legislators of the New York City Council will soon grant 800,000 green card holders the permission to participate as voters in municipal elections.
With a veto-safe majority, the council members will vote to approve the “Our City, Our Vote,” bill, making New York City the largest American city to allow non-Americans the ability to complete a ballot for local elections. The mission statement of the bill proposes “legislation that expands democracy in New York City” with a qualification that registered voters must be a resident of New York City “for at least 30 days” prior to registering.
Lawmakers first introduced the controversial bill two years ago, but it was stiff-armed due to a possible violation of the state’s constitution. In a September council hearing, Laura Wood, Chief Democracy Officer for New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, argued that the state’s constitution grant’s voting rights to citizens. Possessors of green cards do not fit the description.
In a contentious disagreement with the councilmembers, Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested to WNYC Radio that he would veto the bill under the impression that it’s framework is not legal for passage.
The motion to approve the bill comes at a time when levels of concern for fraudulent voting are high among constituents across the nation.
Around the same time that the “Our City, Our Vote,” bill was being discussed in the Big Apple, Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, signed an election reform bill into law. Known as Senate Bill 1, the Texas law increases ID requirement regulations, bans drive-thru voting, and eliminates the legality of distributing mail-in ballot applications across the state. In an attempt to stall the Texas Legislature from passing the SB 1, Texas Democrats fled the state for Washington, D.C. In response, Gov. Abbott threatened to have them arrested immediately upon their return to reconvene the voting process.
The Lone Star State isn’t the only state legislature that’s improving election integrity. Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, announced in November the move to make ballot harvesting a 3rd degree felony within the state. Ballot harvesting is the act whereby a 3rd party collects ballots from the homes of voters with the intent to deliver them to a nearby polling location or an election office. Historically, the illegal activity has been punishable by law as a misdemeanor.
Although New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, recognizes that the “Our City, Our Vote” bill is unconstitutional per the New York State Constitution, Mayor-elect Eric Adams does not. The bill has overwhelming support with 34 out of the 51 representatives ready to cast their votes in favor of passing the legislation.