During his interview on CNN’s State of the
Union on Jan. 9, Mayor Eric Adams was
asked a rather startling question by the program’s
host, Jake Tapper: Does he believe the
noncitizen voting bill that the City Council passed
last month “makes a mockery of citizenship”?
The question came a day after Adams announced he
would not stand in the way of the “Our City, Our Vote
Bill” (as it’s known) from becoming the law of New York
City. The bill gives some 800,000 noncitizens in the five
boroughs — working visa or green card holders — the
right to vote in municipal elections; state and federal
elections would remain off-limits to them.
Adams rejected the notion that the new bill undermines
citizenship efforts or makes a mockery of them.
The fact is that the noncitizen bill, complicated as the
calculus might be, does not provide full voting rights
to noncitizen New Yorkers.
It does, however, grant those noncitizens who abide
by visa and green card requirements the ability to at
least choose the leaders of the city in which they live to
run a government for which they pay taxes.
The bill is not, as its opponents claim, a “power
grab” or some other deleterious ulterior motive which
they’ve concocted. It’s not lost on us that most of these
opponents also stand against efforts to make it easier
for American citizens to vote because, though they
won’t admit it, more people voting gets in the way of
their own unpopular political agenda.
But letting noncitizens vote in municipal elections
isn’t really good enough. The city should encourage
noncitizens to pursue and attain citizenship so they
can enjoy the full rights of all Americans to participate
in their democracy.
The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs provides
an array of free programs to help New Yorkers on their
path to citizenship. You can learn more about the program
at nyc.gov/immigrants or by conducting a simple
Google search — but the information about this program
isn’t as widely known as it should be.
Red tape often slows down the citizenship process,
and the city should do more to press its Capitol Hill
representatives to pass legislation cutting much of that
tape away. It takes an average of 14 1/2 months for an individual
to navigate the citizenship process; Congress
should review the procedures and determine the best
ways to make the process secure, yet more expedient.
All New Yorkers should be part of their democracy,
and this city’s government should do more to promote
full membership in this great country.
HOW TO REACH US
TIMESLEDGER | QNS.10 COM | JAN. 14 - JAN. 20, 2022
Letting noncitizens vote in municipal elections isn’t enough. The city should encourage noncitizens to pursue and
attain citizenship so they can enjoy the full rights of all Americans to participate in their democracy.
Photo by Paul Frangipane
QUESTIONING SENATE BILL S360
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The following is an open letter to state Senator
Dear Hon. Senator Leroy Comrie,
As a constituent, I write to express my
indignation with your sponsorship of Senate Bill
S360, which “authorizes ballot by mail by removing
cause for absentee ballot voting.”
I, along with many others, am distressed and
request an answer.
In the latest general election last November,
voters defeated Ballot Proposition No. 4 for no-excuse
absentee voting by a wide margin. I question
why you would sponsor and vote in favor of a bill
that is a blatant disregard for a referendum of the
S360 clearly is a bill which overturns the will
of the voters, canceling a legitimate election outcome,
and this is an authoritarian act unacceptable
in our democracy.
Please answer this question: Why would you
sponsor a measure which denigrates our electoral
process and discourages people from voting in future
Voter suppression occurs when state legislators
pass laws that summarily overturn the valid
votes of the people in a free and fair election. This
is intolerable, and we the people, your constituents,
would like an answer.