A judge in the US state of New York has struck down a law that would have allowed residents of New York City who are not citizens to vote in local elections.
Judge Ralph Porzio, of New York State Supreme Court for Staten Island, ruled on Monday that the law violated the state constitution, which says that “[e]very citizen” is entitled to vote.
The New York City Council passed the law in December, allowing residents of the city with lawful permanent resident status or US work authorisation to vote in citywide elections.
The law would have applied to an estimated 800,000 to one million people, who would have to reside in the city for at least 30 days prior to the election.
Advocates hailed the law as a step to extend voting to the city’s large population of people who pay taxes and make contributions to the city’s culture and economy, but do not technically qualify as citizens of the US, even though some have spent large portions of their life there.
There was no immediate comment from the city council on Monday.
The city’s law department, which could challenge the ruling in a higher state court, said the city was evaluating its options.
“This is a disappointing court ruling for people who value bringing in thousands more New Yorkers into the democratic process,” the statement said.
Republican Party officials in the state had pushed back against the law and sued the city, stating that it diminished the power of the franchise and would force politicians to win the support of a new group of voters.
“Today’s decision validates those of us who can read the plain English words of our state constitution and state statutes: non-citizen voting in New York is illegal,” New York city councillor and Republican minority leader Joseph Borelli said in a statement.