This summary about Our City Our Vote was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.
Immigrant advocates gathered Tuesday outside the Staten Island Courthouse ahead of the start of proceedings surrounding the lawsuit against the Our City, Our Vote Local Law 11-2022, an immigrant voters rights bill.
Background: The law was enacted in January, and allows permanent residents and those authorized to work in the U.S. who are living in New York City become eligible to participate in municipal elections starting 2023.
Shortly after: Republican leaders led by Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the law and restrict immigrant voters’ access to the ballot box. They argued that the law violates the state constitution and state election laws.
“What we’re doing is not something foreign or unique,” Murad Awawdeh, New York Immigration Coalition executive director, told Documented “We’re restoring the right to go for folks who used to be able to do so.”
Several states permitted noncitizen voting in the early 20th century, and as recently as 2003, New York City public-school parents could vote for the school board, regardless of immigration status.
At the rally yesterday: “New York City didn’t ask me my citizenship status when it asked me to put my life on the line as a frontline pandemic nurse…as food service workers,” said Hina Naveed, an intervener. “[NYC] doesn’t ask us for our immigration status anytime there is a crisis and we need to step up as New Yorkers. So New York City should not hold our citizenship status as a barrier to our voices and our vote counting at the polls.”
Other interveners spoke out, adding that immigrant communities have paid taxes for decades, and should have a voice in how the city functions.
Next steps: “Our side had a very strong case,” says Awawdeh of NYIC. “and now the judge will make a decision on June 27.”
Thoughts on whether the Our City Our Vote law will survive this legal challenge? Reply to this mail.
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