The coalition has been fighting for the Voting Righs since 2008. Photo Javier Castaño

A coalition is holding a press conference Monday, November 1, to fight for the Voting Rights that give New York city legal residents the power to vote in municipal election. If approved, those with ‘green card’ can vote to elect Mayor, Councilmen, Public Advocate, etc. Immigrants communities will benefit from this and the city will be more democratic, inclusive.

On Monday, November 1st, 2010 the NY Coalition to Expand Voting Rights is holding a press conference from 11:30AM to 12:30 PM in front of the Manhattan Board of Elections (32 Broadway—N, R trains to Rector) to protest the fact that one out of every five New Yorkers has no voice in the decision-making process that affects their daily lives.  1.3 million legal residents who pay taxes at the same rate as their citizen neighbors, contribute to the local economy and send their children to public schools are unable to vote for the elected officials who will determine how their tax dollars are spent.

“For the first 150 years of this country’s history, non-citizens voted in federal, state and local elections,” says Political Science Professor Ron Hayduk of Borough of Manhattan Community College and author of Democracy for All: Restoring Immigrant Voting Rights in the United States.  “But as new and different kinds of immigrants came to America, a nativist backlash led to the elimination of this democratic practice.  Thankfully, today dozens of municipalities from coast to coast are reexamining what it means to be a stake-holder in one’s community and are moving to reverse this discriminatory barrier to civic participation.”

The NY Coalition to Expand Voting Rights is a group working to change New York City law to restore the right to vote in municipal elections for all documented residents.

“Voting embodies the principles of equality and fairness upon which our democracy is based,” says Chair of the City Council Immigration Committee, Daniel Dromm (D-25), a strong supporter of the campaign. “When all contributing members of our society can participate, democracy is better served, and everyone benefits. Nothing in the U.S. or state constitution precludes the notion of letting residents vote.”

Allowing all residents to vote is a proven method of facilitating voter participation, immigrant incorporation and government accountability.

“When only half of the people in some neighborhoods are allowed to make decisions for the entire community, our democratic process is in crisis. Immigrants pay more than $18.2 billion dollars a year in New York State income taxes. They are not only daily users of public transportation, schools, and hospitals, they provide a significant portion of the funding for those institutions,” says coalition member, Irma Rodriguez, Executive Director of Queens Community House, a community-based nonprofit organization that serves 30,000 Queens residents each year, many of whom are immigrants and first generation Americans.

“Documented residents who pay billions in taxes and who can die in unjust wars abroad should have a right to vote.  There should be no taxation without representation,” says David Andersson, coordinator of the New York City chapter of the Humanist Party.

Speakers at the Nov. 1st event will include Council Members Daniel Dromm and Julissa Ferreras (D-21).

For complete listing of the special guests and more details about the event at: www.ivotenyc.org