Skip to content

Latest Stories

Top Stories

New York City poised to give non-citizens the right to vote in local elections

New York City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez

New York City Council member Ydanis Rodriguez is the lead sponsor of legislation to allow certain non-citizens to vote in Big Apple elections.

Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

New York City appears to be on the verge of the nation’s biggest expansion of voting privileges for non-citizens who are permanent residents of the United States.

While non-citizens are legally prevented from voting in federal elections, some states allow municipalities to open the door for local elections. Cities in California, Maryland and Vermont have already granted voting rights to non-citizens, but not on the scale proposed in New York.

A bill currently under consideration by the City Council would allow as many as 900,000 non-citizens to vote for mayor, city council, borough president and other local offices. The bill is scheduled for consideration Dec. 9 and is likely to pass, according to Gothamist.

Supporters of expanded voting rights had reason to celebrate over the Thanksgiving weekend after the bill’s lead sponsor, Democratic Council member Ydanis Rodriguez, struck a deal to get it on the Dec. 9 agenda.

This would not be the first time New York allows non-citizens to vote; during the last three decades of the 20th century, non-citizens were able to vote in school board elections. Ron Hayduk, a professor of political science at San Francisco State University, studied data from New York as well as other U.S. and European jurisdictions that have allowed non-citizens to vote, and found those instances have increased civic engagement.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

“Research shows non-citizen voting injects issues important to immigrants into politics, makes elected officials more responsive to immigrants, leads to more diverse political leaders, and keeps government more accountable to them,” Hayduk said. “Education issues show particular gains, including funding for improvements to schools, language access, after-school programs, books and curriculum, and the like.”

If the bill passes, Mayor Bill de Blasio would have the opportunity to sign it before his term expires. He has opposed the bill in the past, citing questions of legality, but recently softened his stance. The recent City Council elections appear to have installed enough supporters of the bill to overcome a veto. If de Blasio leaves office without acting, the responsibility would fall to Mayor-elect Eric Adams, who has said he supports expanding the franchise.

Even if the bill sails through the City Council and the mayor’s office, it may still face opposition. Republican Vito Fossella, a former member of Congress and incoming Staten Island borough president, has promised legal action to prevent the bill from going into effect.

But Hayduk believes the bill passes constitutional muster.

“Numerous legal scholars conclude NYC’s law is constitutional because NY’s Constitution merely provides the floor but not the ceiling regarding who can vote, whereby charter cities like NYC can use their home rule power to enact such changes,” he said.

The number of New Yorkers who could gain voting rights would exceed the total population in as many as a half-dozen states.

According to Ballotpedia, 14 states allow municipalities to grant voting privileges to non-citizens, and 14 cities (all in California, Maryland and Vermont) have done so.

  • San Francisco is by far the biggest, but only allows non-citizens to vote in school board elections.
  • Eleven towns and cities in Maryland have varied rules allowing certain non-citizens to vote.
  • Vermont became the latest state to grant such authority, when the Legislature overrode Gov. Phil Scott’s veto in June. Now two cities — including the capital, Montpelier — now allow non-citizens legal residents to vote.

Efforts are underway in other areas —notably Illinois, additional California cities and Portland, Maine — to give non-citizens the right to vote, according to Hayduk.

Read More

People marching

Black Lives Matter protesters march in New York.

Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images

Progress is won by pursuing justice, not waiting patiently in line

Agbo is the CEO of the Kataly Foundation and the managing director of the foundation’s Restorative Economies Fund.

It’s another election year. Another year when the stakes are sky high and the promise of our democracy is in peril. Another year when people — primarily people of color — are asked to put aside differences and come together to save our country.

What is the responsibility of philanthropy in yet another moment of political uncertainty?

Keep ReadingShow less
Shoe lying on the stage

A shoe is left on stage after a former President Donald Trump was ushered off by the Secret Service following an assassination attempt on July 13.

Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The assassination attempt: Reflections from The Fulcrum contributors

Nevins is co-publisher of The Fulcrum and co-founder and board chairman of the Bridge Alliance Education Fund.

I woke up Sunday morning, like I am sure you all did, attempting to process Saturday's assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump.

In my role as co-publisher of The Fulcrum I immediately started thinking about how we should respond and started to write a column with my thoughts. But first I needed to figure out my approach.

Keep ReadingShow less
American flag hanging amid spotlights

The FBI, ATF and other law enforcement agencies work at the crime scene where a gunman attempted to assassinate former President Donald Trump on July 13.

Kyle Mazza/Anadolu via Getty Images

The language of violence

Breslin is the Joseph C. Palamountain Jr. Chair of Political Science at Skidmore College and author of “A Constitution for the Living: Imagining How Five Generations of Americans Would Rewrite the Nation’s Fundamental Law.”

Real violence erupted at a presidential campaign rally on Saturday night. Rare though it was, it was still a sickening sight.

Tragically, metaphorical violence as part of campaign speeches is not at all rare. Democrats and Republicans — Biden and Trump, Harris and Haley, DeSantis and Kennedy, you name it — throw around allusions to violence as if we are currently engaged in some domestic incursion.

Keep ReadingShow less
broken American flag
traffic_analyzer/Getty Images

It's never too late to act

Sturner, the author of “Fairness Matters,” is the managing partner of Entourage Effect Capital.

This is the second entry in the “Fairness Matters” series, examining structural problems with the current political systems, critical policies issues that are going unaddressed and the state of the 2024 election.

Keep ReadingShow less
Flag being held out in front of Trump tower

Donald Trump supporters demonstrate in front of Trump Tower in New York a day after the former president was injured during shooting at campaign rally in Pennsylvania.

Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Democracy 2.0 will focus on compassion, not violence

By Sam Daley Harris

Daley-Harris is the author of “Reclaiming Our Democracy: Every Citizen’s Guide to Transformational Advocacy” and the founder of RESULTS and Civic Courage. This is part of a series focused on better understanding transformational advocacy: citizens awakening to their power.

Keep ReadingShow less