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N.Y.C. Grants Noncitizens Right to Vote in Local Elections

People with 30 days of residency are “transient,” not a “permanent resident” and not a “contributor,” said Mr. Gjonaj, who noted no on the bill.

According to the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, of the estimated 808,000 adult New Yorkers who are lawful permanent residents, or green card holders, or have work authorization, 130,000 are from the Dominican Republic and 117,500 are from China.

Laurie Cumbo, a councilwoman from Brooklyn, questioned whether the bill would dilute the voting power of African Americans. “This particular legislation is going to shift the power dynamics in New York City in a major way,” said Ms. Cumbo, who voted no.

Tiffany Cabán, an incoming councilwoman from Queens, called Ms. Cumbo’s argument “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.

The motion to send the bill back to committee failed after a spirited debate on the floor of the City Council; the Council speaker, Corey Johnson, said that any amendments to the bill would render it “technically dead” because there would not be enough time to vote on the bill during this Council session. The legislation passed by a vote of 33 to 14 with two abstentions.

Under the legislation, the New York City Board of Elections, which has faced scrutiny about its handling of elections, would issue a separate voter registration form and provide ballots for noncitizens that only include municipal offices.

Eva Santos, 32, who immigrated to the Bronx from the Dominican Republic at 9 years old and is allowed to live and work in the country through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program known as DACA, said she felt a sense of relief and peace of mind when the legislation passed.

“I think it’s a big step toward showing other localities that we have the right to be represented, and that we have contributed enough to be represented and have a voice,” Ms. Santos said. “We are New Yorkers like anyone else.”

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