Listed below are groups and individuals who support expanding voting rights to include immigrants. Check back soon to see the groups that are joining the campaign every day.
THE NEW YORK COALITION
From 1970 until school boards were disbanded recently, non-citizen immigrants voted in New York City school board elections. (Click HERE for more about the history of noncitizen voting in New York City and State.) During discussions about the reform of the City Charter in Fall 2003, the idea of reinstating noncitizen voting was raised. Although the Charter Revision Commission ultimately did not vote on the question, a group of New Yorkers began meeting to discuss what it would take to make noncitizen voting a reality.
Early in 2004, this group became the New York Coalition to Expand Voting Rights. Coalition members have been meeting with New York City community groups, leaders and legislators about the new initiative. Together, they developed a statement of principles and answers tofrequently asked questions about noncitizen voting and had them translated into Spanish, Haitian Kreyol, Russian, Chinese, and Korean (see links below). Materials in other languages are being developed.
New York City Council Member Bill Perkins has taken the lead on this issue and introduced a bill in Spring 2005 to grant legal City residents the right to vote for the City officials whose decisions shape the issues that affect them in their daily lives. The bill was reintroduced in Spring 2006 as Intro 245.
New York City is now home to 1,361,007 immigrants of voting age who are not yet citizens. That means one out of five New Yorkers of voting age cannot vote. These city residents are subject to all the laws that citizens must observe. They contribute in countless ways to the economic vitality and social and cultural life of this city that serves as the unofficial capital of the world. According to the Urban Institute, immigrants pay $18.2 billion in taxes, or 15.5% of the state’s tax income. READ MORE
HOW YOUR ORGANIZATION CAN HELP
* Endorse the Coalition
* Inform your members through newsletter or email, word-of-mouth, website link, and/or events. Let them know that the New York (and national) noncitizen resident voting rights initiative will benefit the entire community, non-citizens, naturalized citizens, and native-born citizens
* Help with outreach to community organizations in New York to obtain endorsements and organize educational events
* Gather signatures on the petitions that we plan to present to City Council when Councilmember Bill Perkins introduces the legislation (we already have more than 1,500 but are shooting for many more)
* Organize outreach events/forums/panels to educate your members and constituents about immigrant voting rights
* Enlist influential members and district residents to contact City Council members to let them know their constituents support this initiative
* Provide testimonials or statements in support of this initiative