Politics

Let Legal Immigrants Vote?

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I know, it sounds like a fairly odd proposal, but wait till you find out an interesting piece of trivia later on…as if that’s not a big giveway.

From the New York Post:

February 20, 2007 — Immigrant-rights activists yesterday renewed their push to allow legal noncitizens to vote in the Big Apple.

A bill that would grant permanent residents and other legal immigrants the right to vote in municipal elections has been stalled in the City Council since last year.

“More than 50,000 adult noncitizen taxpayers in those two districts are disenfranchised by citizenship voting laws,” said Cheryl Wertz, of New Immigrant Community Empowerment, referring to today’s special election for council seats in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Now the interesting part…

Councilman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn), the sponsor of the Voting Rights Restoration Act, said that years ago, when immigrants were mostly European, they had voting rights.

“Then when the complexion of immigrants changes, then all of a sudden, the laws change,” he said.

Ron Hayduk, a CUNY professor, concurred, saying immigrants voted in national elections from 1776 through 1926.

So, can anybody shed additional light on this? I’m not ready to reinstate the legal immigrant vote, but there seems to be a precedent that stopped for some unknown reason (the story doesn’t elaborate).