Second-Highest Court in New York Blocks 800,000 Non-Citizens From Voting in New York City Municipal Elections -
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Second-Highest Court in New York Blocks 800,000 Non-Citizens From Voting in New York City Municipal Elections

The New York State’s second-highest court has decided that a law passed by the New York City Council, which permitted non-citizens to participate in local elections, null and void.

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court (ADSC) nullified and permanently stopped the enforcement of NYC Local Law No. 11 of 2022 on February 21, 2024.

In the latest legal development of the case, the appellate court affirmed the New York Supreme Court’s ruling, citing that the local law violated both the state constitution and the Municipal Home Rule Law.

The initial lawsuit (Vito J. Fossella et al. v Eric Adams), filed in January 2022, also claimed that the New York City measure violated the state’s election law. However, the ADSC dismissed this allegation.

One of the main arguments put forth by the plaintiffs was that the new local law “changed the method by which all municipal elective officers are elected by effectively replacing the existing electorate with a differently constituted population,” thereby violating the Municipal Home Rule Law.

The decision by the ADSC can be challenged in New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. However, there has been no announcement regarding whether an appeal will be pursued.

Mr. Fossella, a former six-term Republican congressman, currently holds the position of president of Staten Island borough. Meanwhile, Mr. Adams, a Democrat, serves as the mayor of New York City.

Multiple registered voters, GOP officials, along with state and national party committees, joined Mr. Fossella as co-plaintiffs. On the other side, Mayor Adams, the New York City legal department, and certain left-leaning activist groups were involved in the case.

The New York Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief in support of the defendants, and the ADSC allowed a group of non-citizens to intervene in the legal proceedings.

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