WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, a New York court struck down New York City’s law that allowed legal residents who are not citizens to vote in local city elections. The New York City Council adopted the law in December 2021, a change that was estimated to add upwards of 800,000 new voters to the rolls for local elections (these municipal voters still could not vote in state or federal elections). In January 2022, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Republican voters, officials, the state and national party and one Democratic city council member challenging the noncitizen voting law. The lawsuit argued that the law, in allegedly diluting the votes of U.S. citizens by “dramatically increasing the pool of eligible voters,” violated the New York Constitution and state election laws.
In a summary judgment ruling on Monday, a judge sided with the plaintiffs in striking down the law for violating the state constitution and New York election laws. State trial court Judge Ralph Porzio pointed to the use of “every citizen” language in the state’s constitution and concluded that, “by not expressly including non-citizens in the New York State Constitution, it was the intent of the framers for non-citizens to be omitted.” The judge ruled that the state’s election law reaffirms this citizen-only understanding. Additionally, he found that the authority of local governments to amend and adopt their own laws does not permit New York City to issue laws inconsistent with the state constitution and state-wide laws.