Give the Right to Vote to Noncitizens in NYC

The Humanist Party of New York is very pleased to work with some elected officials in the city to reintroduce the Voting Rights Restoration Act. This legislation will grant noncitizens the right to vote in local elections.

Think of it: why would you leave 1.3 million New Yorkers without any representation? Did you know that in some neighborhoods, over 35% of the population have no say in how their tax dollars are spent?

The voting rights legislation, as it stands now, excludes a large chunk of the working poor – the tax-paying noncitizen – from the political process. As a result, a small segment of the population ends up controlling the distribution of resources for housing, healthcare, education, transportation and other services throughout the city, including those meant for these lower income non-voting populations. It is as if these tax dollars were charity, being allocated depending of the whim of the politicians! And now, with the excuse of the “economic crisis,” it is like, “we can’t throw around money if we want to have the schools open and the subway running!”

We cannot forget that the tax dollars are resources that all New Yorkers are generating – by living, working and spending in the city. Our ancestors appreciated this way back in 1763, when they started a revolution, saying “No Taxation Without Representation.

Today, in 2015, it is time we honor these lofty ideals of our forefathers, by giving everyone a minimum of representation, a minimum of democracy. We need to have a minimum of respect for everyone, and welcoming someone to have a voice, a say, in the way they live in their own city and community, is a good start toward a real democracy.

As Humanists, we declare:

In real democracy, all minorities must be provided with the protections that correspond to their right to representation, as well as all measures needed to advance in practice their full inclusion, participation, and development.

From The Statement of New Humanism, presented at the Second Humanist International on October 7–8, 1993, in Moscow.
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