New York City officials announced on Monday, they are strongly considering allowing non-citizen legal residents the right to vote in local elections. The City Council has begun drafting legislation to let noncitizens vote in New York City’s municipal elections, a move that could strengthen immigrants in races across the five boroughs. The legislation if approved would make NYC one of just eight regions in the nation where U.S. citizenship isn’t required to cast a vote, according to iVote NYC. Reports suggest that the city council is discussing the legislation with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, and that a bill might be introduced as soon as this spring.
Legal residents would have to live in New York City for at least six months. A majority of city council members support it, as does Mayor Bill de Blasio, who says he would sign it if it gets to his desk. Supporters of the legislation argue that many non-citizen residents in the city already pay taxes and enroll their children in public schools, as well as becoming active members of the community. According to the Fiscal Policy Institute in New York, non-citizen residents contribute $18.2 billion in income taxes each year. Currently in the US, six small towns in Maryland allow non-citizen voting in local elections. Chicago lets non-citizens vote in its school elections.
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