New York City Mayor Eric Adams enacted a measure Sunday that will allow more than 800,000 non-citizens in the city to vote in municipal elections.
The new law, which the city council passed a month ago, will grant voting rights to any adult who has been a lawful permanent resident in the city for more than 30 days. If it survives a legal challenge, New York City will be the first to institute such a law. Under the law, legal non-Americans would be able to vote for a number of elected positions including mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough president, and council member.
However, the law would disqualify eligible individuals from voting for president or members of Congress in federal races and state gubernatorial elections, among others. Undocumented immigrants would not be granted the right to vote under the measure.
A handful of localities across the United States, including eleven towns in Maryland and two in Vermont, permit non-citizens to participate in their elections.
“I believe that New Yorkers should have a say in their government, which is why I have and will continue to support this important legislation,” Adams said in a statement Saturday.
“While I initially had some concerns about one aspect of the bill, I had a productive dialogue with my colleagues in government that put those concerns at ease. I believe allowing the legislation to be enacted is by far the best choice, and look forward to bringing millions more into the democratic process,” he added.