Press Release

AALDEF Will Continue to Fight For the Voting Rights of Immigrants Despite "Our City Our Vote" Law Ruling

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A state judge ruled that a move to allow noncitizens to vote would first require voters to pass a referendum. Credit: Andrew Seng/The New York Times.

New York, NY — The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund delivered the below statement in response to the Staten Island Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Local Law 11, the Our City Our Vote law, which would have allowed more than 800,000 permanent legal residents and immigrants authorized to work in the U.S. to vote in local elections.

Hello, I am Patrick Stegemoeller, a Staff Attorney in the Democracy Program at AALDEF, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. AALDEF was founded in 1974 right here in New York, and we have been fighting on behalf of New York City’s Asian immigrant communities for decades.

Asian Americans are the fastest growing population in New York City and in the country, and Asian immigrants would make up the largest share of municipal voters enfranchised by Local Law 11, the Our City, Our Vote law. Asian immigrants are vital to this city’s culture, vibrancy, and economic potency, yet these communities continue to be underrepresented in the city they call home and contribute to everyday. Asian American New Yorkers experience the highest poverty rate of any racial group, and suffer from unnecessary institutional barriers that impede their access to direly needed social services. The Our City, Our Vote law enfranchises and empowers thousands of these New Yorkers to participate in our political process and to work towards ensuring representation for their communities.

The need for effective representation for Asian American and immigrant New Yorkers is more pressing now than ever, as Asian communities in New York and nationwide are experiencing an epidemic of violent anti-Asian hate. With near daily instances of anti-Asian violence plaguing these communities, Asian American and immigrant New Yorkers need effective representation that will work to combat this wave of hate. Whether they came here or were born here, Asian New Yorkers deserve a voice in our city that will stand up and meet this crucial moment.

AALDEF stands in solidarity with our partners and the many communities represented here today in support of the Our City, Our Vote law. Undeterred by this morning’s expected ruling from the Richmond County Supreme Court, we are determined to continue to fight on behalf of all of the New Yorkers who will be enfranchised by this legislation, and look forward to pressing our strong claims with the appellate court. We believe this case will vindicate the constitutionality and legality of Local Law 11, and we will work tirelessly until the voting rights of these historically disenfranchised communities are vindicated.


For additional information, contact:

Stuart J. Sia
Communications Director
212.966.5932 x203