City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) led other elected officials and several dozen advocate organizations in a City Hall Park rally Tuesday celebrating a measure that will allow roughly 800,000 non-citizens living in New York City for at least 30 days to vote in all city elections.
The measure dubbed “Our City, Our Vote ” now has a veto-proof supermajority 34 out of 51 City Council supporting the legislation guaranteeing passage at the council’s stated meeting on Dec. 9. It comes as nearly half of New York City households have a member with green card status or other undocumented status.
It also comes as a number of city lawmakers – once part of those immigrant households themselves – are leading the movement to pass the bill.
“My mom had all of her kids in a public hospital,” said City Councilmember and Brooklyn Borough President-elect Antonio Reynoso, who attended the rally. “My mom couldn’t vote for a representative that could ensure a quality education for her kids.”
Reynoso’s family came from the Dominican Republic and raised him in Williamsburg, which he now represents in the council.
“It’s about time that we finally get an opportunity where we show these representatives what we want, what we need and what we deserve at the voting booth, where it most matters,” Reynoso said.
He thanked Rodriguez and the work of the New York Immigrant Coalition, who have been organizing the rallies and the letters as part of the campaign to get the bill passed.
While Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he has “mixed feelings” about the bill because he feared that allowing noncitizens to vote might remove the incentive for people to become full citizens, Mayor-elect Eric Adams has voiced support for it.
Under the proposed legislation the New York City Board of Elections (BOE) would issue a separate voter registration form for green cardholders and other noncitizens who have the right to work. Those voters would then fill out a ballot with only New York City offices on it at the polls.
The bill also calls for training poll workers and community education campaigns to ensure every voter receives the correct ballot.