Why Restoring Municipal Voting Rights for Legal Residents is a Great Idea for NYC

It Strengthens Democracy

  • We live in a democracy, yet 1 in 5 adult New Yorkers (approximately 1 million people) live here legally but are denied the right to vote in city elections because of their citizenship status.
  • Voting embodies the principles of equality and freedom that define a democracy.
    Nothing in our state or federal constitution precludes noncitizen voting; in fact, residents have voted in local and state elections throughout US history.
  • Every previous effort to expand democracy (to African-Americans, women, 18-20 year olds, among others) has been met with resistance, but afterwards was recognized as a positive step in the direction of a truly democratic society. When everyone is allowed to participate in decision-making, there is a greater sense of shared responsibility, democracy is better served, and everyone benefits.

It Upholds Principles of Fairness and Equal Access

  • Non-citizen NYC residents pay taxes at the same rate as their citizen neighbors, yet they have no say in how that tax money is spent.
  • Legal residents live here, own businesses, send their children to school, and contribute to every aspect of the economic, cultural and social life of this city — yet cannot vote.
  • This is “taxation without representation,” an injustice which stirred this country towards independence more than 200 years ago.

New York City Can & Should be a Model

  • NYC is a city of immigrants and has always been a model for the world on how people from diverse backgrounds can live and work together as one society.
  • In today’s world, innovation and new approaches are emerging more and more at the city level than at the national level, and NYC is no exception. A globalized world demands new ways of operating; expanded voting rights in NYC would have repercussion well beyond the city’s limits.
  • Decisions made at the municipal level do not impact national security or federal policy, but rather issues that affect the day-to-day quality of life of all residents: education, public transportation, affordable housing, healthcare, green spaces, etc. Our neighbors may not have US citizenship, but they are
  • New Yorkers, and we want and need their full contribution in the city’s ongoing growth & development.