With the current City Council session coming to an end, Sandy Nurse, who will soon represent Bushwick’s 37th District in City Council, has called on NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson to schedule a City Council vote for Intro 1867, a bill which would expand voting rights for green card holders and other immigrants with work authorization who have lived in New York City for at least 30 days. 

If enacted, the law would allow nearly 1 million immigrants the right to vote in municipal elections for New York City offices, including the City Council, mayor, public advocate and comptroller, as well as ballot initiatives. It would not allow green card holders to vote in state elections or federal elections. 

The vote for Intro 1867 has been stalled for some time now, and proponents of the bill are getting restless. 

“The window for NYC to pass #intro1867, providing voting rights to almost a million NYers, is narrowing as this City Council session is coming to an end. That is why we are calling on @NYCSpeakerCoJo to put #Intro1867 on the floor for a vote,” Nurse Tweeted on Nov. 4. 

Proponents of the bill argue that green card holders are people who live in the city, work in the city, pay taxes in the city and send their children to school in the city. Yet, they can’t vote for their representatives. 

According to the activist group Our City Our Vote, similar legislation has existed before in NYC and currently exists elsewhere in the United States. Until 2003, when school boards were disbanded, non-citizens were allowed to vote in school board elections. 

However, some, including lame duck Mayor Bill de Blasio, have questioned the legality of the legislation and have “mixed feelings” about it, according to the Gothamist. De Blasio alluded that he would prefer people go through the full naturalization process. However, it is known that this process is lengthy and often expensive. 

Those interested in getting involved and/or staying up to date can go to OurCityOurVote.org.

Featured image: via New York Immigration Coalition Instagram.

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