Conservative Group Sues New York City Over Noncitizen Voting Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Aug. 29, the Public Interest Legal Foundation — a conservative legal organization — filed a lawsuit on behalf of voters challenging New York City’s noncitizen voting law. The law allows legal residents, including those with green cards and Dreamers, who have lived in New York City for at least 30 consecutive days to vote in municipal elections (the law does not extend to state or federal elections). The plaintiffs allege, in extraordinarily bad faith, that the law violates the 15th Amendment by discriminating on the basis of race and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) by diluting the voting strength of Black voters and favoring “foreign citizens.” 

In support of these assertions, the plaintiffs cite the right-wing “news” organization Breitbart, imply that Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez (D) speaking in Spanish demonstrates that he advocated for the law with “an explicit racial purpose” and allege that the city council members “crossed the bright line established by the Fifteenth Amendment” by “voic[ing] their deliberate intent to use Local Law 11 to change the racial make-up of New York City’s electorate.”  Additionally, the plaintiffs imply that Rodriguez’s comments celebrating the diversity of today’s electorate — “[a]llowing people to vote benefit[s] us all. It is our duty to return the right to vote to a noncitizen immigrant living in New York City at a time where the city today look different than what it looked in the 1900’s”— are evidence of “impermissible racial intent,” presumably against white voters. Ironically, the plaintiffs also cite New York City’s history of racial discrimination in voting as a reason to prevent the allowance of a more inclusive electorate. The plaintiffs ask the court to prevent the enforcement of the law. There is currently another lawsuit, Fossella v. Adams, challenging the noncitizen voting law that’s pending in state court. 

Read the complaint here.

Learn more about the case here.