Black citizens file suit against New York for allowing foreigners to vote

They allege that the rule, which would allow almost one million foreigners to vote in local elections, produces "racial discrimination".

Four black citizens filed a complaint against federal lawsuit against the Board of Elections and the City of New York over the passage of a law that would allow almost one million foreigners -with green cards, visas and work permits- voting in the local elections, provided they have resided in the city for at least 30 consecutive days.

Phyllis Coachman, Deroy Murdock, Katherine James, and Anthony Gilhuys, represented by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) believe the law violates the 15th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act and takes direct aim at the racial discrimination. In addition, citizens allege that it is intended to dilute the votes of black Americans by adding hundreds of thousands of Hispanic and Asian immigrants to the voter rolls.

A law with "racial purpose" and loyal support from the mayor

The bill was passed earlier this year by the 51 Democratic members of the New York City Council. For his part, Mayor Eric Adams endorsed the plan and told The New York Post that he is sure the law will be good for the "democratic process."

I believe New Yorkers should have a say in their government, which is why I have and will continue to support this important legislation...I had a productive dialogue with my colleagues in government that put those concerns to rest. I believe that allowing the legislation to be enacted is by far the best option, and I look forward to millions more joining the democratic process.

The lawsuit by Coachman, Murdock, James and Gilhuys claims that the law passed in New York violates the 15th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act:

Local Law 11 violates the Fifteenth Amendment and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act because it was adopted with impermissible racial intent. It was the explicit intent of the Act's sponsors to increase the voting power of certain racial subgroups while simultaneously decreasing the voting power of other racial subgroups.... An election law enacted with any racial intent or purpose is unconstitutional.

In addition, the complaint points out the percentage of the foreign population living in the U.S. and how they will be affected if they are able to vote in the election:

According to U.S. Census data, there are approximately 1,300,000 foreign nationals who are residents of New York. Of that total, approximately 495,000 are Hispanic and 348,000 are Asian. The city has approximately five million active registered voters. The addition of one million foreign national voters could account for nearly 20% or more of the electorate in a future election. This is greater than the margin of victory in many municipal elections.

End of case

Citizens and the city's Republican Party had previously filed two lawsuits in New York State. They cite that the constitution is explicitly clear that voting is a right guaranteed only to U.S. citizens.

The NY Supreme Court upheld the arguments and struck down the law as "illegal, null and void" because "it is clear (...) that voting is a right granted to American citizens".

The federal lawsuit filed by the four U.S. citizens is the third to challenge the law, but the first to ask the federal courts to intervene to block its enforcement.