NY Appellate Court upholds decision to not allow foreign nationals right to vote in local elections

February 22, 2024
by
Ryan Ledendecker

A prior ruling that allowed New York City to give local voting rights to certain groups of foreigners was upheld in court this week.

According to Breitbart, the New York City Council, dominated by Democrats, decided in 2022 that over 800,000 foreign nationals would be able to vote in local elections -- a decision that sparked immense backlash.

A coalition of unlikely allies eventually sued Mayor Eric Adams (D) and the city’s Board of Elections over the new rule.

Later that year, the state's high court decided that the ruling violated the state's constitution, but the decision was ultimately appealed.

What happened?

The original ruling was shocking, given that it would have marked the first city to give voting rights to people who are literally not American citizens.

Breitbart noted what happened after the original rule was issued:

Black New Yorkers, along with naturalized American citizens, the New York State Republican Party, the Republican National Committee (RNC), and Democrat officials like Councilman Robert Holden subsequently sued Mayor Eric Adams (D) and the city’s Board of Elections.

Thankfully, commonsense prevailed once again in the New York Appellate Division, which this week upheld the state's Supreme Court ruling that made it clear only American citizens have a right to vote in elections, including local ones.

The Appellate Division's decision read, "Since this is, in part, a declaratory judgment action, we remit the matter to the Supreme Court, Richmond County, for the entry of a judgment, inter alia, declaring that the Local Law is null and void on the grounds that it violates the New York State Constitution and the Municipal Home Rule Law."

Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), represented Black New Yorkers in the original lawsuit against the new voting rule. He praised the Appellate Division's ruling.

"The Public Interest Legal Foundation’s lawsuit shows that not only did this foreign citizen voting law violate New York’s laws but also the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act," Adams said. "Members of the New York City Council made explicit statements that race was the motivation behind this voting law. In America, we do not allow race-based voting restrictions."

Greater concerns

Part of the concern, aside from race issues, was that such a rule would have likely led to foreign nationals being able to hold public office, and given the large makeup of foreign nationals in New York City, it could have quickly turned into a disastrous issue.

Social media users reacted to the news of the court's decision to uphold the ruling.

"Finally some sense," one X user wrote.

Another X user wrote, "This should be a National Law!"

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