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New York City is poised to be the first major city to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections

New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

  • New York City is poised to become the first major US city to allow non-citizens to vote. 
  • Around 800,000 non-citizens, including green card holders and DACA recipients, will be able to vote in municipal elections.
  • New Mayor Eric Adams said he initially had reservations but decided to support the measure. 

New York City is poised to become the first major US city to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections after Mayor Eric Adams allowed a controversial measure passed by the city council to go into law. 

More than 800,000 non-US citizens living in New York City, including recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and green card holders, will now get the opportunity to vote in municipal elections for positions like mayor and for local ballot initiatives. They will not be allowed to vote in state or federal elections, the Associated Press reported.

Undocumented immigrants are still unable to vote, according to the legislation. 

The New York City Council approved the legislation, known as “Our City, Our Vote” in December. It went into effect Sunday.

According to the AP, the city Board of Elections is now tasked with creating a plan to implement the measure by July. They will be tasked with creating a process for the non-citizens to register to vote and determine how to create a separate ballot for non-citizens to ensure they do not vote in state or federal races.

Adams explained why he allowed the legislation to go into effect in a statement Saturday. 

“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,” said Adams, who became mayor January 1. 

“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. 

He did not explain the details of those conversations. According to The New York Times, opponents worried the effort would take power from citizens and discourage people living in the US from seeking US citizenship. 

In December, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday” he had “mixed feelings” about the legislation and said previously he wanted “to make sure that there’s maximum incentive to finish the citizenship process,” The Hill reported.

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