Top New York Republicans pledged Thursday to thwart a City Council proposal that would allow non-citizens to vote in municipal elections, declaring they would take the legislation to court if signed.
“We are here today pledging action against perhaps the worst idea out of New York City Democrats ever — that’s giving non-citizens the right to vote in local elections,” state GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said during a press conference outside City Hall.
“We are here to say we pledge action, any means necessary … to stop this dangerous legislation undermining our elections,” he vowed. “We will pursue every legal action to see that this dangerous law is struck down.
“Besides being bad policy, it’s unconstitutional, it’s dangerous and un-American.”
The bill, sponsored by Councilman Ydanis Rodríguez, would allow hundreds of thousands of non-citizens to participate in local elections by expanding eligibility to vote for elected posts in the five boroughs to green card holders and recipients of deferred action.
The measure — supported by a veto-proof majority of the Council and set for a vote on Dec. 9 — would not allow non-citizens to head to the polls in federal or state elections.
The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs has said that nearly 800,000 New Yorkers would be covered under the legislation, including 622,000 green card holders.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has repeatedly expressed reservations about the bill, in part because of his stated belief that only state lawmakers have the authority to pass it. But importantly, he has vowed not to veto the policy should the Council approve it.
“To me, this is something that, again, I’m not sure is legally what a city can do,” he said Nov. 23 during a virtual press briefing. “I think it’s something the state government needs to do.”
On Thursday, Councilman Joe Borrelli (R-Staten Island), who was recently selected to be the heavily Democratic body’s minority leader, fumed that the measure violates the Empire State’s constitution.
“The people in this building are doing something against the state constitution,” he said. “The truth is, this will influence our elections, and the people who are registered to vote, the 5.6 million registered voters, ought to have a say in this.”
“If they want to vote here,” he said of non-citizen New York City residents, “they should go through the process of becoming citizens because that is how you show a real commitment to being a part of this city and this country.”
Republican state Attorney General candidate Michael Henry told The Post he would file a lawsuit “immediately” against the law following de Blasio giving it a green light.
“I’m going to do it immediately after the mayor signs the bill,” he said. “We’ve already been preparing a legal strategy. I’m going to sue, in my personal capacity.
“There will probably be other plaintiffs involved,” he explained. “I’m going to sue based on the constitutionality, and it’s going to be done very quickly after the ink is dry on that bill.”
During a subsequent press conference, Rodríguez defended the legislation he’s been spearheading.
“I feel that it is time, in 2021, that we as a city move forward being a role model to the whole nation. People pay taxes, people should have the right to decide who are the mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough president, council member,” he said. “This bill will give the dignity and respect to those individuals … that we have a voice, to ask for more attention to improve safety in their community.”