A Democratic New York City councilwoman argued against a proposal to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections citing fears that non-citizen immigrants might vote Republican.
“We saw in the presidential election that many other ethnic groups voted Republican, jeopardizing the entire future of this country by voting Republican,” said Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo during a council meeting Thursday. “No offense to my Republican brothers and sisters.”
The New York City Council passed a resolution Thursday allowing non-citizens to vote in local elections by a 33-14 vote, extending voting rights to non-citizens with legal permanent status who have lived in the city for at least 30 days.
The Hispanic vote in America is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, according to a recent poll. Rising turnout among voters from the Dominican Republic drove the 2020 election results to the right, and though he lost the election, former President Donald Trump’s biggest gains in 2020 were in heavily Hispanic areas, according to the New York Times.
“On so many elections the African American community has been the community to save the day,” argued Cumbo, who is black. “African Americans as a block have remained true to the ideals of the Democratic party.”
Her reasoning is offensive, but her vote is not. Non-citizens are not "disenfranchised." Voting should be a benefit of citizenship. Otherwise, what the heck is citizenship for?
— Robert A George (@RobGeorge) December 9, 2021
Cumbo commented that, while black people had to fight for centuries for the right to vote, and to even be considered more than three-fifths of a person under law, the city’s effort to expand voting rights would enfranchise immigrants who had been in the country for as few as 30 days.
“This is going to be a great win for the ethnic groups that are going to be the highest number in the city of New York,” Cumbo said, addressing Ydanis Rodrigues, a councilman who is Dominican. “So Ydanis, this is your legacy. This is yours. This is going to be a huge win numerically for the Dominican Republic community, and I applaud you for that. We’re all here to support our ethnic groups.”
She went on to say that, in order to support the measure, she would need to understand how it would impact the black community. “Just because we’re all black and brown doesn’t mean we all share the same values and principles,” she said.
Cumbo explained that voting reforms do not always advance the interests of people of color, noting that under the ranked choice voting system, a white woman would have won the New York mayoral race over Eric Adams, who is black.
The decision to allow non-citizens to vote will “shift power dynamics in New York City in a major way” and have national repercussions, according to Cumbo.
“We should never shy away from wanting to ask questions…we can’t continue with the expediency or the fear that we’re gonna be canceled if we even are known to have asked for more information,” she said. “That culture needs to end.”
Incoming Councilwoman Tiffany Cabán called Cumbo’s comments divisive.
“Expanding the right to vote for some folks does not in any way diminish or tarnish the right to vote for others,” she said.
Councilman Barry Grodenchik, noting that his parents migrated from Russia in 1903 and the rest of his family in Europe was murdered in the holocaust, said he resented that “race was injected into this debate today.”
“This bill should be debated on the merits,” he said.
Cumbo’s office did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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