A contentious law in New York would enable non-citizens to vote.

A contentious law in New York would enable non-citizens to vote.


A new law in New York is looking to allow more than 800,000 non-US citizens to vote in many local elections. People opposing this new law are trying to challenge it in court.


Non-citizens could be allowed to vote in local elections in more than a dozen towns and cities across the United States. These include 11 towns in Maryland and two cities in Vermont. If you’re not a citizen, you still will not be permitted to vote for the president, Congress, or state elections.


By July, the New York Board of Elections must start working on an implementation plan that includes rules for voter registration and rules for making separate ballots for city and town races. It’s a big moment for the most populous city in the United States, where legally documented non-citizens make up almost one in nine of the 7 million people who are old enough to vote. Non-citizens who have lived in the city for at least 30 days, as well as those who are allowed to work in the US, like Dreamers, would be able to help choose the mayor, council members, comptroller, and public advocate.


In 2023, non-citizens will be able to vote for the first time


Unless the law is blocked by a judge. “We build a stronger democracy when we include the voices of immigrants” said former council member Ydanis Rodriguez, who led the charge for new legislation. Rodriguez, who Adams named transportation commissioner, thanked the mayor for his support and said he expects a strong fight if there are legal challenges.


Opponents say the council doesn’t have the power to give voting rights to people who aren’t citizens on its own. There are laws in some states that would stop them from passing laws like the one in New York City. These include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, and Florida, but there are many more.