Non-citizens to vote in NYC
On December 9th, the New York city council voted 33 to 14 to allow the nearly one million non-citizens to vote in municipal elections.
These non-citizens must be either authorized to work in the country or have legal permanent residence status.
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez said that “We will be kind of a role model not only for the state of New York, but for the whole nation.”
“This bill is taxation with representation,” councilmember Margaret Chin said.
With whatever superficial rhetoric one wants to consider this new measure, even mayor Bill de Blasio said there may be some legal concerns.
Councilman Joseph Borelli says the measure is unconstitutional. ”There’s additional election law and municipal home rule law that we are seemingly going around to pass this bill, which everyone over the past several decades has called illegal,” Borelli said.
Stefano Forte, candidate for New York State Senate, spoke to American Pigeon, on the councils recent measure:
“I think the City Council made a big mistake by voting to allow non-citizens the ability to vote in local elections. This is all one big power game to solidify single party rule by the Democrats in New York, however I will applaud Democrats like Bob Holden and Paul Vallone who voted against this bill. Citizenship is the bedrock of our republic and allowing those who are not citizens to vote means that we are diluting the incredible power of citizenship.”
Forte then spoke to the unconstitutionality of the measure.
“This is blatantly unconstitutional. The right to vote is endowed to citizens only. In the constitution it spells it out very clearly. I predict that once this is brought to court it will be swiftly shut down. I’m currently in conversations with a couple of elected officials to help any lawsuit to strike this very unconstitutional build down in the courts.”
“As state senator I will do everything I can to make sure that the right to vote is protected for citizens. If a synthetic movement is created like the one they did in New York City for non-citizens to vote on the state level, I would be on the front lines to make sure that that did not happen. This is something I feel very strongly about because I have immigrant parents and grandparents who waited, studied, took their citizenship test, and were sworn in and understood the magnitude and the importance of our American history culture and system of governance before they took to the ballot box to cast their vote.”
Forte continued, saying that New Yorkers were never given the chance to vote on the measure.
“The Democrats and their elite benefactors in the city Council could’ve brought this to a ballot measure. We could’ve voted if we wanted non-citizens to vote in our local elections, but they decided to sidestep the peoples will and the constitution as a whole, and vote for an indefensible bill that dilutes the meaning and power of citizenship. I look forward to fighting against this in court and God willing in the state senate to protect the citizens of our country.”
Looking closer, what does the Constitution say about citizens and their right to vote?
The Fourteenth Amendment, Section One states:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
The Fifteenth Amendment, Section One states:
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude–”
The Constitution says the right of citizens to vote shall not be abridged, not the right of residents.
Some argue that there is no explicit clause that denies the right to vote to non-citizens in state elections. Another common argument is that the Constitution does not grant the right to vote but affirms that it cannot be taken away based on race, sex, previous condition of servitude, or the failure to pay taxes. But that the Constitution only affirms that the right to vote cannot be taken away from citizens entails that the right for citizens to vote is neither able to be taken away by the government or even the Constitution.
In other words, the right to vote is embedded into the being of a citizen. The right for citizens to vote isn’t just a Constitutional right, but the Constitution recognizes the right as existing without it. This means that the government cannot prevent citizens from voting and cannot grant non-citizens the right to vote.
Non-citizens are not mentioned because it would have been, and still remains, wholly unconscionable to extend voting beyond the citizenry, state or federal. The vested interests of this country does not stop at state lines, lest each state may write their own rules and the “Union” ceases to be a Union, substituting instead a balkanized America.
Citizen is a cognate of civil, civic, or civilization. Citizenship is defined as the duty that one owes to their country; as well as having the privileges that comes with being a member of a community. Absent the citizen, there is no civilization.
In New York, the non-citizen would be best described as a cosmopolitan, a citizen of the world, enjoying the fruits of a state without the requirements of a citizen and without the vested national interest that comes with it.
When the essence of the citizen becomes obscured, or secondary to participation in the nation’s interests, there is no longer a country to identify with.
America is currently divided along tribal and ideological lines, the likes of which has only palpably intensified within the past year. The flag itself is losing its symbolic significance as those who are ashamed of this country feel that the only way to atone for its past sins is to subvert it altogether.
The icing on the cake is to allow those without vested national interest to participate in elections that conspicuously influences the state’s political body and policy.
The way these non-citizens will vote becomes a question uninteresting to the politicians that approved the measure, but does not become irrelevant. Political motives are not a newfound dilemma confounding good policy with political benefits. So who are the beneficiaries of this move?
When the body politic of a state is in jeopardy of favoring one party rule, voting representation becomes undemocratic. There becomes only an illusion of choice and a dangerous imbalance of political opposition needed in any responsible republic.
Under the assumption that non-citizens will overwhelmingly favor the Democratic Party, New York citizens will be disenfranchised as the only viable option for political representation becomes the Democratic Party. While this appears as a dream come true to Democrats, there is no successful state, country, or civilization that has upheld the values of a representative democracy under a one party rule; and certainly no republic has come from this form of rule.
This condition is antithetical to the American governmental philosophy that is unassuming in how its citizens vote. When a state begins to take for granted its constituents, it may go so far as to dilute the opposition, e.g. to illegally increase the voting populace for its own sustenance.
Resolute Compromise—Splitting the Electoral College
If Democrats are insistent on allowing non-citizens to vote in municipal elections within the city, then it may be fair to proffer a resolution to ensure that the state in entirety is equally represented respective of their populations, both municipally and federally, for non-citizens and citizens. Regardless of whether or not non-citizens who are residents of NYC can vote in federal elections, the move to permanently (and illegally) alter the city’s electorate must be divided from the rest of the state. NYC, with her constituency, shall not dictate the federal electorate of the state with its one-party populace. This move is indicative of a direction that does not equally represent the voices of the state.
Therefore, New York should be split into three states with an alternative method of of distributing electoral votes, called the Congressional District Method. Currently, Nebraska and Maine are the only two states in the union to do this, contrary to the traditional winner-takes-all method.
New York’s three states would be divided into Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island; the upstate area above the New York City metropolitan area; and the five boroughs. The electoral votes will be apportioned respectively as: six, six, and the remaining 17 to NYC and the boroughs.
A “Fair” Democracy
What is a “non-citizen,” anyway? If one is not a citizen of the United States, then one is, by definition, a foreigner—someone who was born outside the country and is not an American.
A “fair” democracy would not include those who are not Americans to take part in American elections, unless naturalized in the United States. An American shouldn’t expect to take part in Canadian elections, Mexican elections, or African elections just because they may work or reside there. For immigrants who are residing here to claim some entitlement to our state and, as a result, as part of our country, is not “fair.” It is disenfranchising citizens who were born here or naturalized. It is diminishing what it means to be a citizen.
No foreigner is entitled to vote in American elections. No American citizen is entitled to vote in foreign elections. Having an “inclusive” democracy is a ridiculous concept. New York City is not a world city; it is an American city for American citizens first.
Rather than creating measures to get some groups of people, who want to be citizens, on a path to citizenship, Democrats are going around the constitutional process to give these people a “right” to vote. This is an affront to our republic and a dangerous precedent to set.
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