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New York officials are celebrating after the state’s Supreme Court struck down a Democrat-passed law that gave municipal voting rights to foreign nationals living in New York City.
Last year, Democrats on the 51-member New York City Council approved a plan that allows more than 800,000 foreign nationals with green cards, visas, and work permits the opportunity to vote in citywide elections as long as they have resided in the city for at least 30 consecutive days.
On Monday the New York Supreme Court ruled that the law is “illegal, null, and void” because “it is clear … that voting is a right granted to citizens of the United States.”
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who is running for governor, praised the decision:
Voting is a sacred right of U.S. citizens, and, today, the New York State Supreme Court correctly reaffirmed that right. One person, one vote belongs to U.S. citizens, and no one else! No way should noncitizens be allowed to vote. [Emphasis added]
New York City Councilman Robert Holden, a Democrat from Queens who joined the state’s Republican Party and naturalized American citizens in their suit against the law, also applauded the ruling.
“I applaud today’s court decision in favor of our bi-partisan lawsuit, affirming what we already knew: non-citizen voting in [New York] is a violation of law,” Holden said. “It’s a victory for citizens’ rights and will encourage permanent residents to pursue citizenship and fully commit to our nation.”
“Citizenship and suffrage have always been tied together for good reason, and must never be torn from each other,” Holden continued.
Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) said the ruling “validates those of us who can read the plain English words of our state constitution and state statutes: noncitizen voting in New York is illegal…”
“Shame on those who thought they could skirt the law for political gain,” he said.
Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (R-Brooklyn) called voting a “sacred right and privilege that is granted exclusively to citizens of the United States. As an immigrant,” she continued, “… I am proud to be a plaintiff in this lawsuit.”
Likewise, Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Queens) called the ruling “a win for democracy.”
New York State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy said the ruling is “another victory for citizen rights, election integrity, and the rule of law” and vowed to continue fighting the issue in court:
Time and again, New York Democrats have abused the power entrusted to them to illegally rig the system while trampling on citizen’s rights. Whether it was this outrageous violation or their illegal gerrymander, we have proven that we will fight them in court and win, but this should serve as yet another reason why we need to break up one-Party rule and restore balance and accountability to our government. [Emphasis added]
Dale Wilcox of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), which filed a friend of the court brief in support of the suit against the law, said he is “pleased this law is now null and void.”
“Laws such as this are an attack on the very idea of American nationhood,” Wilcox said in a statement. “The sovereign of this democratic nation is the people, U.S. citizens. When their power is eroded, our nation begins to lose its independence.”
The case is Fossella v. Adams, No. 172 in the Supreme Court of the State of New York.