BP Fossella Issues Statement Regarding Non-Citizen Municipal Voting, Now Law In NYC

“​In light of non-citizen voting now becoming law, I have filed a lawsuit today in New York State Supreme Court, Richmond County, seeking to declare that the law violates the New York State Constitution.

More specifically, the new law violates Article II, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution which clearly states the three necessary “qualifications of voters.” These include citizenship, to be at least 18 years of age, and to have residency in the state for at least 30 days.

As the lead plaintiff of this lawsuit, I seek to prohibit the Board of Elections from implementing the new law. The new law will require the creation of two different ballots for municipal races to prevent non-citizen voters from participating in federal and state elections, which in reality, opens the door for error. Potentially adding 800,000 new non-citizen voters to a system that has been made more complex by rank choice voting will increase concerns over fraud, and undermine faith in the system while diluting the voice of our citizens in selecting their local leaders.

One of the great privileges of being a United States citizen is the right to vote. To extend that right to non-citizens is unconstitutional and simultaneously dilutes the votes of and devalues what it means to be a citizen of New York State.

While the provisions of the new law would first be implemented in the 2023 elections, the time is now to protect the rights of all New York citizens, including those Staten Islanders who elected me to be their Borough President.”

Banner Image: The Mexican American border. Image Credit – pixel2013

BP Vito Fossella

The Office of the Borough President has a responsibility to advocate for the entire Borough of Staten Island and all its residents, and represents the Borough's interests within City government. The Borough President communicates directly with the Mayor and the City Council to emphasize Staten Island’s budget priorities. In addition, the Borough President is responsible for reviewing major land use decisions and proposing sites for city facilities within the Borough. As the chair of the Borough Board, the Borough President leads Staten Island’s City Council delegation and Community Board chairs in the process of reviewing and approving the transfer of public properties to private use. The Borough President’s Office houses the Borough's Topographical Bureau, which maintains the borough’s official maps and assigns street addresses. The Borough President monitors the delivery of city services on Staten Island, and acts as a liaison between residents and city agencies when problems arise to devise solutions. The Borough President is also responsible for appointing one member to the Panel for Educational Policy and one member to the City Planning Commission, as well as some 150 members to Staten Island’s three community boards.

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