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Immigrant and Civil Rights’ Orgs Continue Fight to Expand Voting Rights in NYC


March 22, 2024

Press Contact:
Nekessa Opoti

Immigrant and Civil Rights’ Orgs Continue Fight to Expand Voting Rights in NYC
Appeal Filed Challenging Ruling on Local Law 11


NEW YORK – A notice of appeal has been filed challenging a recent ruling on Local Law 11, the law that would expand voting to non-citizens in municipal elections in New York City. 

The filing comes after a decision by the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division: Second Judicial Department on February 21, 2024. The decision ruled against the opportunity to allow New Yorkers with legal permanent status or work authorization the right to vote in municipal elections. The law does not cover state or federal elections. Local Law 11 would expand the right to vote in municipal elections to almost 900,000 non-citizen New Yorkers.   

Local Law 11 is crucial to ensure equitable representation, according to the organizations filing the motion to appeal. The organizations are: Black Alliance for Just Immigration,  LatinoJustice PRLDEF,  Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York (CAIR-NY).

“In this time of heightened attacks on democracy and democratic institutions, our efforts to modernize and expand access to the ballot box are more critical than ever,” says Nana Gyamfi, Executive Director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration. “We are committed to making sure that Black migrant New Yorkers join our African American kin in the continual fight to address the anti-Black roots of voter restriction and suppression. Voting rights are human rights, and the people of this city have made it clear that these rights should be extended to immigrants who invest so much of ourselves to its existence and development.”

“LatinoJustice proudly files this appeal on behalf of our clients,” said Cesar Z. Ruiz, Associate Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF. “They have shown courage in the face of adversity and have never wavered despite constant attacks to suppress our communities’ voting rights. Our immigrant community is the backbone of our city, yet they don’t have a say in local government matters that affect their everyday life. We stand firmly to defend a right our community fought so hard to obtain and will continue to work to expand and to protect the voting rights of all New Yorkers to ensure a truly representative democracy.”

“The Second Department saw fit to vindicate several of our arguments on appeal, and we are confident as we press our remaining claims with the Court of Appeals to preserve Local Law 11 and protect democracy,” said Patrick Stegemoeller, staff attorney at AALDEF.  “Asian American New Yorkers are a vital part of our city’s culture and economy yet experience the highest poverty rate of any racial group in NYC. Local government is where many of the rules about how we work and live are decided, yet hundreds of thousands of immigrant New Yorkers are deprived of a voice and we’re all deprived of their critical input. Local Law 11 will enfranchise these vital members of our community, enabling them to vote on the issues most important to them and other New Yorkers.”

“This vibrant city should reflect its residents, and voting is a crucial tool in making that a reality,” said Lamya Agarwala, Supervising Attorney at CAIR-NY. Local Law 11 provides the opportunity for so many New Yorkers, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, to have a voice regarding matters that directly impact them. CAIR-NY joins our partners in this legal fight to keep Local Law 11 alive.”