Common Sense: Non-citizen voting a bad idea

The New York City Republican delegation to the City Council and state legislature — all endorsed by the Conservative Party and consisting of State Senators Marty Golden (whom I serve as chief of staff) and Andrew Lanza, State Assemblymembers Nicole Malliotakis and Joseph Borelli, and City Councilmembers James Oddo, Vincent Ignizio and Eric Ulrich — issued a rare joint statement in opposition to Council Intro 410 that would allow non-citizens to vote in New York City elections.

Their statement follows:

“We are offended by the attempt from members of the New York City Council to give non-United States citizens the ability to vote in New York City elections. The right to vote and select those who represent us in government is one of the most cherished and important privileges of our country. To extend this privilege to non-citizens not only devalues United States citizenship but is inconsistent with New York State Election Law which states that ‘no person shall be qualified to register for and vote at any election unless he is a citizen of the United States.’

The three potential Republican candidates for mayor, as well as a number of the Democrats, have also come out strongly against the proposal. Mayor Bloomberg says he will veto the legislation if it makes it to his desk. Unfortunately the Council appears to have the necessary votes to override. If that should occur, the voters would get the final say in as much as this would be a revision of the City Charter and for it to become law, must past voter muster. That vote would be restricted to American citizens.

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Republican Joe Lhota picked up the endorsement of the Staten Island Republican Party, and John Catsimatidis, the Liberal Party. That endorsement, as you can imagine, precludes him from receiving the Conservative Party endorsement.

Joe Lhota, who is actively seeking the Conservative Party endorsement, has had favorable interviews with the Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan Conservative Party organizations. Erick Salgado, who is hoping to be in a Democratic primary, has been endorsed by the Bronx Party.

Both candidates would need an authorization from the Conservative Party to run on the party’s line. At this point, it would seem clear that the party is leaning towards Lhota, but a final decision has not been made.

It is estimated that the Conservative Party line citywide will draw around 40,000 votes this November.

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If you are interested in meeting Joe Lhota and local City Council candidate John Quaglione, make plans to be at the Bay Ridge Manor (476 76th Street) at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 23. A new group called Republicans for Change will be hosting Lhota and Quaglione as well as other candidates.

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I had the honor of meeting famed Chinese human rights and free speech advocate Harry Wu in Albany recently at an exhibit sponsored by State Senator Golden of works by the Laogai Research Foundation. The foundation is the leading world organization on information pertaining to Chinese human rights violations.

Mr. Wu spent many years in a labor camp for his efforts to bring free speech to communist China. Since being released and traveling to the United States in 1979, Mr. Wu has continued his efforts to keep the world focused on the many abuses the Chinese government has propagated against its people.

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