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Mayor Adams awaits analysis of noncitizen voting rights bill before signing measure into law

QCH OCOV 2021
Advocates from Queens Community House joined allies at City Hall to celebrate the passage of the noncitizens voting rights bill in the City Council. (Photo courtesy of QCH)

Mayor Eric Adams declared that he is not planning to veto the controversial immigrant municipal voting rights legislation that was passed last month by the City Council.

However, during an unrelated press conference 0n Tuesday, Jan. 4, Adams said he was awaiting an analysis from his legal team over the one aspect of the legislation that would allow more than 808,000 New Yorkers who have green cards or work authorization the right to vote after living in the five boroughs for 30 days.

“I never said I was going to veto the bill; I was asked what’s my opinion and thoughts on the bill and I was clear that I supported the bill, but I was concerned about the 30 days part of it,” Adams said. “I’m not open or closed to anything.”

Independent of the mayor’s decision on the matter, Queens Community House (QCH) continues to stand by the legislation that would provide noncitizens with voting rights in local elections.

QCH, one of the borough’s largest social service organizations, joined elected officials, the New York Immigration Coalition, United Neighborhood Houses and the Our City, Our Vote Coalition on the steps of City Hall to celebrate the historic 33-to-14 vote.

“With the passing of this bill, New York is setting an example of inclusion and progress for other cities and communities around the country and around the world,” QCH Community Engagement Coordinator Julieta Larsen said. “This will affect at least a quarter of a million residents just in the Queens communities that we serve.”

New York City would be the first in the nation to allow noncitizens to vote in municipal elections would Adams sign Intro 1867 into law.

“QCH has been actively involved in this campaign for 13 years,” QCH Executive Director Ben Thomases said. “Many of our neighbors in the communities we serve have been unable to vote on policies affecting their daily lives despite contributing to the city’s economic, cultural and social expansion. Intro 1867 supports giving immigrants across Queens and the rest of New York City a voice.”

QCH outreach worker Alma Reyes has been advocating for the Our City, Our Voice bill for years through community outreach and organizing.

“As someone who waited 29 years before finally being able to vote last November after becoming a citizen, I know what it’s like to be disenfranchised while contributing with taxes and supporting the city’s economy,” Reyes said. “Intro 1867 will give many immigrants in the neighborhoods we serve a say in the local government.”

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