The light of reason can sometimes be seen, albeit faintly, even in the deepest blue areas of the United States. The New York City Council debated and then passed a law last week granting non-citizens the right to vote in municipal elections.
One of the members, Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, D-Brooklyn, said the bill, which will go into effect in 2023, would not “amplify” the voices of her largely African-American constituents. Their voting power would obviously be diluted as immigrants from, as she noted, the Dominican Republic, China, and Mexico could overwhelm the votes of the black community. “This particular legislation is going to shift the power dynamics in New York City in a major way,” Cumbo asserted.
Cumbo voted “no,” but hers was an outlier voice in a chamber where currently 48 out of the 51 members are Democrats and which voted 33-14 with 2 abstentions to pass the legislation.
The significance of New York City opening voting to non-citizens who have attained legal residence and can prove they have lived there for at least 30 days goes beyond its potential for altering the ethnic composition of the City Council.
Trashing Electoral Integrity
The national Democratic Party and its leftist media cheering section are treating Republican efforts to pass more voter integrity laws at the state level as part of a Trumpist “insurrection” and coup d’etat attempt as well as an assault on voting rights that is the “biggest story in American politics.”
But they seem insensible to the fact that New York’s trashing of a key element of electoral integrity — the idea that only citizens should have the right to vote — further justifies those who believe that without the traditional guardrails that were largely discarded during the 2020 election, honest elections will be a thing of the past.
Critics of the bill have noted the idea seems to be a blatant violation of the New York State Constitution. Indeed, even New York’s outgoing leftist Mayor Bill de Blasio seemed to think it didn’t pass legal muster, although he didn’t feel strongly enough about it to threaten a veto, which would have likely been overridden.
Dishonest Debate over Law
New York’s constitution states that the right of citizens to vote is guaranteed, “provided that such citizen is eighteen years of age” and has been in residence in the Empire State for 30 days. That would seem to limit voting rights to citizens, but in the bizarro reasoning of New York progressives, the fact that it doesn’t explicitly say non-citizens are prohibited from voting — a stipulation that would seem to be obvious since only the rights of citizens are mentioned — it ought to be interpreted as allowing virtually anyone the right to vote.
Most of the debate about the measure revolves around the notion that limiting votes to citizens was inherently discriminatory and more evidence of the legacy of white supremacy. This must be viewed in the context of the wider conversation about immigration.
Democrats have increasingly seemed to be taking the position that anything other than open borders is a form of discrimination against citizens of other nations, whom they seem to think have a right to entry and residence in the United States irrespective of the laws on the subject. Open borders are the functional result of Democrats opposing enforcement of immigration laws and refusal to support policing the border, while offering amnesty to illegals.
So it is a natural extension of that argument to assert that any measures whose purpose is to restrict the vote to citizens or even those who can prove legal residence or are not dead (as Democrats’ opposition to cleaning up outdated voting rolls indicates) is similarly discriminatory or an “attack on democracy.”
It is to be hoped that the courts will rule the New York City law unconstitutional, but that can’t be taken for granted, especially in a state where the judges, like the legislators, are overwhelmingly far-left. It’s just as likely that other large deep blue cities, like Boston, will follow New York’s example. That more than justifies the efforts of some states to pass laws about explicitly excluding non-citizens from voting.
It should be noted that while New York’s law limits these new voting rights to those with green cards or the right to work in the United States, it will also grant the right to vote to some illegal immigrants, the so-called Dreamers, who were allegedly brought to the country illegally by their parents when they were minors. That will be the starting point for future efforts to widen the franchise to all illegal immigrants in the United States, who could currently number as many as 30 million persons.
Complicating a Clean Vote
Just as important is the question of how New York will prevent the non-citizens who can vote for local offices from participating in elections for state and federal offices. Presumably, that will mean the creation of two separate voting rolls. But anyone who followed the mishaps that characterized the New York Board of Elections conduct of both the 2020 primaries and general election can have little confidence in their ability to manage an even more complicated task than the one they are already largely failing to accomplish.
Even if incompetence were not an issue, the ability of any system to police voter eligibility in this manner is compromised by Democrats’ notion that any restrictions or attempts to ensure the integrity of the vote are evidence of a racist desire to “suppress” the vote.
This puts into context the widespread claims of liberals that Republicans who have prioritized election integrity are merely getting a headstart on trying to steal the 2022 midterms or another Jan. 6-style “insurrection” intended to impose their authoritarian rule after the 2024 election. Cumbo’s complaint also gives the lie to those on the left who claim that any talk of a “replacement theory” about non-citizens overwhelming the votes of legal voters is evidence of racism.
Letting non-citizens vote is proof that the only side that is attempting to work the system in order to potentially steal upcoming elections are those actively seeking to break down the distinction between American citizens seeking to exercise their right to determine their nation’s future and non-Americans, whom Democrats seem to think will ensure their rule becomes permanent. That makes talk about laws policing voting being an assault on democracy not just hypocritical but proof that the left is gaslighting the nation while seeking to do exactly what they falsely claim Republicans are plotting.