Lhe New York City Council passed legislation Thursday, December 9 to allow foreigners to vote in local elections, becoming the first major city in the United States to take such a step. This local law, adopted by 33 votes in favor (14 against, 2 abstentions), must allow “legal permanent residents” and “persons authorized to work in the United States” who reside in New York and do not have American citizenship to “participate in municipal elections”, according to its title.
Several elected Democrats on the city council welcomed a “historic” vote, as did associations for the defense of immigrant rights. This measure could affect around 1 million foreigners living in New York, out of a total of 9 million inhabitants. The cultural and economic capital of the American East, a democratic and progressive stronghold, adopted this measure at a time when debates are recurring in the United States on access to the vote for minorities.
Several American states have taken steps in recent months to use unfounded allegations of presidential fraud in 2020 to pass laws aimed, according to their detractors, at restricting these voting rights. At the end of his term, the Democratic Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, himself questioned the city’s legal authority vis-à-vis New York State to allow the vote of foreigners, while ensuring that ‘he wouldn’t oppose it. If applied, the measure could take effect from early 2023.