NY GOP strengthens fight against noncitizen voting

GOP Chair Nick Langworthy at a press conference Dec. 2 threatening action agains the Our City, Our Vote bill.
Photo Courtesy of the New York State Republican Party

State Republican Chair Nick Langworthy and NYC Council Minority Leader Joe Borelli are joining a chorus of politicians ready to sue the city over a bill allowing noncitizen residents to vote in city elections

Though it is sure to pass on Dec. 9 with a supermajority in the council, Langworthy and Borelli held a press conference Dec. 2 to preempt the excitement surrounding the historic act. The conference began with Langworthy calling this bill, known as “Our City, Our Vote,” “the worst idea Democrats have had.” 

“Calling this non-citizen voting is a misnomer – because the 800,000 plus green card and work visa holders that the radical left wants to to allow to vote in New York City elections are already citizens of other countries, and almost all of them have the right to vote in their home countries,” Langworthy said. 

He has served as the GOP chairman since 2019, and is a former member of President Trump’s transition team. In September, Langworthy was unanimously reelected for another term as chair and saw huge wins across the state on election day. He told press that he believes Our City, Our Vote is unconstitutional.

“The stakes are too high, the problems we face in this city are too big, for us to give away the most quintessential right of American citizenship to someone who has only lived here for 30 days,” Borelli added. 

The press conference, held in front of City Hall where several immigrant lawmakers and activists celebrated the supermajority achievement, marked a Republican show of strength at a time where the new council will boast the largest number of Republican councilmembers in decades, Langworthy said. 

Another team-Trump Republican, City Councilmember-elect Inna Vernikov (R-Brooklyn) has also spoken out strongly against the legislation, saying she would vote against it if the legislation was delayed until after January 1, when she takes office. Vernikov is a Ukrainian-born immigrant and a successful lawyer. 

Borelli took the opportunity Thursday to read from the New York State constitution the parts which he believes nullify this new bill. He read, “Every citizen shall be entitled to vote at every election for all officers elected by the people, and upon all questions submitted to the vote of the people,” and that they are 18 years of age or older and a resident of the city, state and county for 30 days. 

This particular amendment to the constitution was held up by the people in several challengers since it was added in the 1930s. 

Council member-elect Joann Ariola, who will lead District 32, followed Borelli’s remarks to denounce the bill. “What we’re seeing today is a portion of this city council, the far left portion, who is looking to break the law and go against the beloved constitution that they stand by when it’s convenient for them,” Ariola said. 

In order to add to its own laws, the city of New York has a council to create and pass its own bills, which is the case in Our City, Our Vote. But in order to change the state’s constitution, an amendment must be put on the ballot in the next statewide election. 

The last person to threaten legal action against the bill was Staten Island President-Elect Vito Fossella. Supporters of Our City, Our Vote maintain that nothing in the state constitution or election law prevents New York City from deciding who can have voting rights.