Immigrant Rights Advocates & Allies Appeal Court Decision On Municipal Voting

NYS Court ruled against Our City, Our Vote legislation, which granted local voting rights in municipal elections to lawful permanent residents and persons authorized to work

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New York—Today, members of the Our City, Our Vote Coalition, interveners in the case, and elected officials rallied and held a press conference on the City Hall Steps to announce that they will be appealing. Last month, in Fossella v. Adams, the NYS Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled against the enactment of Local Law 11. Lawyers with LatinoJustice PRLDEF representing the interveners announced the next steps in appealing the decision.

Local Law 11 (or Our City, Our Vote) was enacted in 2022 by the New York City Mayor and City Council. This historic measure enshrined the rights of nearly one million New Yorkers to have a say in decisions about the communities where they live, work and raise their families. 

"Immigrants have always been the heart and soul of New York City, and their daily contributions to all of our lives and livelihoods needs to be dignified with the most basic right to vote in local elections. I implore the administration to lead the effort to ensure that municipal voting is upheld in NYC. We will continue the fight for an inclusive democracy that looks to expand the electorate rather than diminish it," said Council Member Alexa Avilés, District 38, Committee on Immigration Chair.

"I stand firmly with the NYIC and the Our City Our Vote Coalition as it appeals the misguided ruling to strike down Local Law 11 of 2022, which would bring non-citizen lawfully permanent residents of the city into the fold of democracy. While Republican opportunists have smeared the law’s intent and misrepresented its scope, we know it's unconscionable to deny those who contribute so much to this city the right to participate in its elections. This law meets legal muster and I am confident this coalition will prevail. As the proud daughter of Bangladeshi immigrants, I am eager for the day that this law is rightfully implemented," said Council Member Shahana Hanif, District 39.

“Immigrants are the backbone of New York’s economy and communities. But despite their contributions as taxpayers and community-members, many immigrant New Yorkers do not have the right to participate in local decision-making. The Our City, Our Vote legislation was supposed to change that, by empowering nearly one million New Yorkers with permanent residence status or work authorizations the opportunity to vote in municipal elections. This case is just one more example of how Republicans are using the courts to disenfranchise Black and Brown voters across the country. We are supporting the interveners in moving forward their appeal, and call on the City to join them, to strengthen our democracy so that more New Yorkers can have a say in how their city functions,” said Murad Awawdeh, President and CEO, New York Immigration Coalition.

“LatinoJustice proudly files this appeal on behalf of our clients. 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,” said Cesar Z. Ruiz, Associate Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

“In 2021, lawful residents of New York City were finally granted a voice in their local municipal elections. People that have lived here, worked here, followed the rules, and paid their taxes have once again been silenced. If the leaders of this majority-minority city allow this act of voter suppression to pass, then we have failed our neighbors, our friends, and our loved ones,” said Bertha Lewis Founder and President, The Black Institute.

"Chinese for Affirmative Action and the San Francisco Immigrant Parent Voting Collaborative, stand in solidarity with immigrants and advocates in New York City, to demand access to democracy through immigrant voting! As advocates from San Francisco, who also fought against a lawsuit to stop immigrants from exercising their right at the ballot box, we understand these lawsuits as voter suppression tactics rooted in xenophobia and driven by a partisan agenda. As seen in the news, anti-immigrant sentiments are rising and will only worsen as the year progresses. In these times, it is crucial for New York City leaders to take a stand alongside immigrant residents and appeal the appellate court's decision on Local Law 11," said Annette Wong, Managing Director of Programs, Chinese for Affirmative Action.

“Today, MinKwon Center stands tall with the rest of the Our City Our Vote coalition to demand that voting rights should be recognized for all 3 million immigrants that call New York city, ‘home.’ It is unacceptable that most immigrants still cannot do their civic duty and vote alongside their fellow New Yorkers. MinKwon Center will continue to fight for the voting rights of all immigrants and will continue to advocate for the passage of OCOV,” said Woojung (Diana) Park, Immigrant Justice Organizer, MinKwon Center for Community Action.

“Our democracy grows stronger when we bring more eligible voters into the system,” says Susan Stamler, Executive Director, United Neighborhood Houses (UNH). “Local Law 11 would be transformative for neighborhoods because it opens the door for our neighbors who live and pay taxes here to help shape how our city functions. When more New Yorkers have a voice in local elections, our communities thrive. We are eager to see this case move forward to the New York State Court of Appeals, and are grateful to our partners at LatinoJustice and all the defendants for continuing this fight.”



In December 2021, the New York City Council passed Local Law 11 (known as Our City, Our Vote), which allows New York City residents who are otherwise qualified to register under New York State election law, to vote in municipal elections. It was enacted by the New York City Mayor in December 2022. Prior to the bill’s passage, nearly one million New York City residents could not vote in local elections due to their citizenship status, despite paying taxes and being invested in and contributing to the city.

In January 2023, a group of New York Republican voters, New York Republican officials, and members of the New York Republican State Committee and the Republican National Committee, filed a legal challenge seeking to subvert the will of the New York City Council and newly enfranchised New Yorkers. Prior to pushing for its passage, the New York Immigration Coalition, assisted by a pro-bono legal team, conducted a rigorous legal review of Intro 1867/Local Law 11 and found that the bill did not violate New York State’s electoral laws or its constitution.

In February 2024, the NYS Supreme Court Appellate Division, Second Department, ruled in favor of the Republicans, calling the law unconstitutional. One member of the four-judge panel issued a dissenting opinion on the decision.