RNC Sues NYC Election Officials To Block Law Allowing Noncitizens To Vote

RNC Sues NYC Election Officials To Block Law Allowing Noncitizens To Vote

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
January 11, 2022

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is suing New York City's elected officials, including its new mayor, Eric Adams, to block a recent measure allowing non-citizens to cast ballots in upcoming local elections in New York City.

The RNC filed the lawsuit in Richmond County (Staten Island) Supreme Court on Monday seeking to "challenge the validity" of the new legislation. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), whose district mostly encompass Staten Island, New York City Council Minority Leader Joe Borrelli, and other New York Republican officials joined the RNC suit suing Adams, the New York City Council who passed the legislation, and the New York City Board Of Election.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced the lawsuit Monday after the legislation had gone into effect.

"American elections should be decided by American citizens. If Democrats can subvert elections this flagrantly in America's largest city, they can do it anywhere. The RNC is suing to protect the integrity of our elections, and we stand ready to do the same wherever Democrats try to attack the basic security of your ballot," McDaniel said in a statement.

RNC also noted that the amount of non-citizens that will be allowed to vote under the new law is "larger than the margin in last year's New York Mayor Democrat primary, meaning these non-citizen votes could have swung the race to another candidate."

New York State Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, grants the right to vote in all elections to "every citizen" 18 years of age or older.

"Every citizen shall be entitled to vote at every election for all officers elected by the people and upon all questions submitted to the vote of the people provided that such citizen is eighteen years of age or over and shall have been a resident of this state, and of the county, city, or village for 30 days next preceding an election," New York Consitution reads.

In a statement to The Floridian, Borrelli, who also was former President Trump's election New York campaign co-chair in 2016 and 2020, said, "Anyone who can read the plain English language of our state election law knows we have a clear bar against foreign citizen voting. We will win this case without question."

Last month, the Democratic-controlled New York City Council passed the legislation by a vote of 33-14, despite concerns from more than a dozen lawmakers, former Mayor Bill de Blasio, and constitutional experts.

The bill dubbed "Our City, Our Vote," now set to go into effect in 2023 that will expand voting eligibility by granting approximately 800,000 green card holders and recipients of deferred action the right to vote in local city races such as those for mayor or City Council, as well as in ballot initiatives. The legislation does not allow lawful permanent residents or people with any authorization to work who aren't citizens to participate in federal or state elections. People will be required to reside in the five boroughs for at least 30 days in order to be able to vote.

De Blasio had repeatedly expressed reservations about the bill partly because of "outstanding legal questions" but had pledged not to veto it in his final days in office. Neither de Blasio nor Adams signed nor vetoed the bill, thus allowing the legislation to take effect automatically after 30 days of its passage.

NYC's new mayor defended the new municipal legislation in a statement Sunday.

"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.

Adams noted that he decided it was "more important not to veto the bill or get in the way at all, allow the bill to move forward" after speaking with colleagues and listening to their points of view.

"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," Adams added.

New York Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy, who is also named as a plaintiff in the RNC lawsuit, said, "The law is clear, and the ethics are even clearer: we shouldn't be allowing citizens of other nations to vote in our elections, full stop. We are only two weeks into the Adams Administration, and he is already kowtowing to the radical City Council."

"This lawsuit is the only thing that will stop them from their ultimate goal of eradicating all the lines between citizens and non-citizens," Langworthy added.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) signaled support for the lawsuit, echoing McDaniel's statement in tweets.

"Only American citizens should decide the outcome of American elections," McCarthy shared on Twitter, while Stefanik tweeted that "American citizens should decide American elections."

The Big Apple now joins about 14 U.S cities, including San Francisco, to allow non-citizens to vote in municipal elections.

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

Mona Salama is a political reporter for The Floridian covering Congress, the White House and Congressional elections.

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