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Elections

Judge Orders Tennessee to Provide its 4.1 million Registered Voters With Mail-in Voting

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A Davidson County judge on Thursday ruled that the state of Tennessee must provide its 4.1 million registered voters with a mail-in voting option, in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

State attorneys had argued this was infeasible, despite the fact that most states offer less restrictive and more expansive use of absentee ballots. In her order, Lyle wrote “the evidence does not support” the state’s claim that it is “impossible” to provide expanded access to voting by mail.

“In this time of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and its contagion in gatherings of people, almost all states – both Republican and Democrat – are providing their citizens the health protection of a voting by mail option,” Lyle wrote. “This includes southern states such as Alabama, South Carolina and Arkansas, and Tennessee‘s neighboring state of Kentucky and nearby West Virginia. The governors, state officials and legislators in those states have spearheaded efforts to expand access to voting by mail to protect the health of their citizens during the pandemic.”

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Elections

New York City Dems Push Law to Allow 800,000 Non-Citizens to Vote in Municipal Elections

The New York City Council will vote on December 9 on a law to allow green-card holders and residents with work permits to vote in municipal elections

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New York’s Democratic party is battling over the constitutionality of voter laws. On December 9, the New York City Council will vote on a law to allow green-card holders and residents with work permits to vote in municipal elections.

“Around 808,000 New York City residents who have work permits or are lawful permanent residents would be eligible to vote under the legislation, which has the support of 34 of 51 council members, a veto-proof majority” reports Fox News.

“It’s important for the Democratic Party to look at New York City and see that when voting rights are being attacked, we are expanding voter participation,” Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, a sponsor of the bill and Democrat who represents the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, told the New York Times. Rodriguez immigrated from the Dominican Republic and became a U.S. citizen in 2000.

Fox News reports:

Laura Wood, Chief Democracy Officer for the mayor’s office, said at a hearing on the bill in September that the law could violate the New York State Constitution, which states that voters must be U.S. citizens age 18 or older.

Mayor Bill de Blasio indicated he could veto the bill following the September hearing.
“We’ve done everything that we could possibly get our hands on to help immigrant New Yorkers—including undocumented folks—but…I don’t believe it is legal,” de Blasio told WNYC radio at the time.

Mayor-elect Eric Adams, however, submitted testimony to the September hearing in favor of the bill. “In a democracy, nothing is more fundamental than the right to vote and to say who represents you and your community in elected office…Currently, almost one million New Yorkers are denied this foundational right.”

The legislation was first introduced two years ago, but had not yet gained traction due to the legal concerns.

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