De Blasio Has 'Mixed Feelings' Over Allowing 800K Non-citizens to Vote in NYC Elections

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that he has "mixed feelings" about the city council's recent decision to allow hundreds of thousands of non-citizens to vote in local elections.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, de Blasio admitted that while he has some conflicting views on the measure, he ultimately chose not to veto the bill that was passed by the New York City Council earlier this week.

"I have mixed feelings. I've been very open about it on this law and I think there are big legal questions, but I also respect the city council. They made a decision," the outgoing mayor said.

The new bill will allow New York City residents who are not U.S. citizens to vote in certain municipal elections for mayor and city council positions. The measure will enable some 800,000 green card holders and authorized workers to participate in city political races but will continue to bar undocumented immigrants from voting. Additionally, non-citizens will still not be permitted to vote in state or federal races.

Bill de Blasio New York Noncitizen Voting
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that he has "mixed feelings" about a new bill that will allow non-citizens the right to vote in local elections. Here, de Blasio speaks to the media during a press conference at City Hall on January 3, 2020, in New York City. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

De Blasio, who will leave office in January, expressed concern over the legality of the bill soon after it was passed, telling local news reporters that he wanted "to make sure that there's maximum incentive to finish the citizenship process," according to The Hill. The bill has the support of incoming mayor Eric Adams, and will likely be implemented by the city's Board of Elections by 2023.

The decision makes New York the largest U.S. city to grant non-citizens voting rights, joining over a dozen communities across the country, including 11 towns in Maryland and two in Vermont, that have passed similar measures.

"Fifty years down the line when our children look back at this moment they will see a diverse coalition of advocates who came together to write a new chapter in New York City's history by giving immigrant New Yorkers the power of the ballot," Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, a main sponsor of the bill, said in a statement after Thursday's vote.

However, the bill has received pushback from state GOP lawmakers, and will likely face legal challenges on both a local and national level. On Friday, Florida Senator Marco Rubio announced that he will soon introduce legislation that would pull funding away from any U.S. city that grants non-citizens the right to vote.

"No city which allows non-U.S. citizens to vote should receive U.S. government funds," Rubio, a Republican, said. "Next week I am going to file a bill to make that the law."

Florida, along with a number of states, including Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, and North Dakota have adopted rules that would forestall any attempts to pass similar voting laws.