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New York state court strikes down New York City's noncitizen voting law

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Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A New York court struck down New York City's noncitizen voting law Monday, ruling that the law violated the state's constitution and state election laws.

In a 13-page opinion obtained by the Daily Caller's Henry Rodgers, the New York Supreme Court for Richmond County ruled against Mayor Eric Adams and the New York City Council, declaring that a law permitting noncitizen lawful permanent residents and green card holders to vote in municipal elections was illegal.

"The New York State Constitution explicitly lays the foundation for ascertaining that only proper citizens retain the right to voter privileges," Judge Ralph J. Rorzio wrote. "It is this Court's belief that by not expressly including non-citizens in the New York State Constitution, it was the intent of the framers for non-citizens to be omitted."

"Based upon the foregoing analysis, the Court finds that the Municipal Voting Law explicitly violates the New York State Constitution, as only 'citizens' may vote in elections," the judge ruled.

Last December, the New York City Council passed a law extending the right to vote in local elections to noncitizen immigrants who live, work, and pay taxes in New York City. Democratic state officials and immigration activists celebrated the law, which was expected to enfranchise more than 800,000 new voters beginning in 2023.

But the Republican National Committee and state GOP officials challenged the law on the grounds that it violated the state's constitution, as well as state election law and New York's Municipal Home Rule Law.

Rorzio's opinion agreed with the RNC's claims and declared the noncitizen voting law null and void.

"The Municipal Voting Law is 'impermissible simply and solely for the reason that the Constitution says that it cannot be done,'" Rorzio wrote.

"The New York State Constitution expressly states that citizens meeting the age and residency requirements are entitled to register and vote in elections. The New York State Election Law reaffirms that citizens meeting the age and residency requirements are entitled to register and vote in elections. There is no statutory ability for the City of New York to issue inconsistent laws permitting non-citizens to vote and exceed the authority granted to it by the New York State Constitution."

The decision was welcomed by Republican Party of New York chairman Nick Langworthy.

"This is another victory for citizen rights, election integrity, and the rule of law. The judge affirmed that this brazen attempt to give voting rights to non-citizens is in direct violation of the law and a common-sense reading of the Constitution," Langworthy said in a statement.

In New York, the state "supreme court" is the trial-level court, which means New York City may still attempt to appeal this decision all the way up to the New York Court of Appeals, the highest court.

A spokesman for the mayor's office told the New York Times that city officials are "evaluating next steps" after the supreme court's ruling.

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