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New York City law to let non-citizen's vote ruled unconstitutional in appellate court

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New York City law to let non-citizen's vote ruled unconstitutional in appellate court

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A New York state appeals court has denied an attempt by New York City leaders to implement a law that would let non-citizens vote in local elections.

In a 3-1 ruling issued Wednesday by the Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department, the body said the law violated the New York Constitution and Municipal Home Rule Law.

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It “must be declared null and void,” the court said in a 43-page ruling.

The law was passed in December 2021 by the City Council and created a class of “municipal voters,” comprising non-citizens who reside in the city for at least 30 days before an election and register or pre-register to vote. Municipal voters would be granted the right to participate in elections for mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president and council member.

WISCONSIN’S GOP-LED LEGISLATURE MAKES SECOND ATTEMPT TO DRAW MAPS BEFORE SUPREME COURT DOES

Asylum seekers line up in front of the historic Roosevelt Hotel, converted into a city-run shelter for newly arrived migrant families in New York City. (Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The law faced legal challenges almost immediately. 

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It would have applied to some 800,000 new eligible voters in a city of 8.5 million. However, the appellate court said that the clause in the state constitution that says “every citizen shall be entitled to vote…” applies exclusively to U.S. citizens.

“As there is no reference to non-citizens, and thus, an irrefutable inference applies that non-citizens were intended to be excluded from those individuals entitled to vote in elections,” the court said. 

New York Mayor Eric Adams enacted the law upon taking office in January 2022. It was ruled illegal several months later. The mayor defended the law and appealed a lower ruling against it.  

Fox News Digital has reached out to Adams’ office and it was not clear if he would appeal Wednesday’s ruling.

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Eric Adams speaks during Manhattan press conference

New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a Manhattan news conference on May 17, 2023, in New York.  (Barry Williams/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Many Democrats championed the law, saying it would make the city’s politics more inclusive, while Republicans contended it could lead to voter fraud and that Democrats were only looking to pad their numbers. 

“Great news! We won in the appellate court and @NYCMayor’s attempt to implement the law to register non-citizens to vote in #NYC elections has been struck down,” U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-New York, posted on X. “This is a big victory in preserving both the integrity of our elections & the voice of American citizens!

Malliotakis, who represents New York’s borough of Staten Island, was one of several plaintiffs to sue over the law, along with Borough President Vito Fossella.

“Fortunately, common sense prevails in New York, thanks to the decision reached by the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department. The New York State Constitution is clear in that only citizens can vote in our local elections. It is simply irresponsible and nonsensical to extend this right to non-citizens. We are pleased that the Appellate court shared this understanding. This is a win for New York citizens and upholds the integrity of our elections,” Fossella said.

The New York Immigration Coalition said it was disappointed in the ruling. 

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“For generations, New York City’s culture and economy have benefited from the immigrants who have come here to work, raise their families, uplift their communities and pay taxes in New York,” NYIC Executive Director Murad Awawdeh said in a statement. “While we are still reviewing the decision and its impact on immigrant New Yorkers, the lawsuit remains another shameful attempt by xenophobic Republicans who would disenfranchise residents rather than promote a more inclusive and participatory democracy. Immigrant New Yorkers deserve a say in how their local government functions and spends their tax money, and we remain committed to ensuring the expansion of voting rights.”

voting booth

A New York state appeals court has denied an attempt by New York City leaders to implement a law that would let non-citizens vote in local elections. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)

The ruling comes as New York City is grappling with a surge in migrants that has resulted in an uptick in crime and anger from residents. In December, Adams warned that the city was at its “breaking point” as city resources and shelter services had become strained.

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Satanic Temple co-founder challenges Florida Gov DeSantis to debate on religious freedoms

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Satanic Temple co-founder challenges Florida Gov DeSantis to debate on religious freedoms

The Satanic Temple’s (TST) co-founder challenged Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to a debate on religious freedom after the governor singled out satanists by saying they were not allowed to participate in a new chaplain program signed into law last week.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that allows school districts to adopt volunteer school chaplain services.

Under the bill, each school in the state has the option to adopt a policy allowing volunteer school chaplains to provide support services and programs for students. The bill also requires principals of schools with volunteer school chaplains to inform all parents of the services being provided, while also requiring written parental consent before students participate or receive the services.

On Thursday, DeSantis stressed the program was “totally voluntary for a parent or a student to participate.”

FLORIDA BILLS WOULD ALLOW SATANIC PRIESTS TO SERVE AS VOLUNTEER CHAPLAINS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said The Satanic Temple is not a religion. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

He also made clear that members of TST would not be able to serve as public school chaplains.

“Some have said that if you do a school chaplain program, that, somehow, you’re going to have satanists running around in all our schools. We’re not playing those games in Florida,” DeSantis assured the people in the crowd. “That is not a religion. That is not qualified to be able to participate in this. So, we’re going to be using common sense when it comes to this. You don’t have to worry about it.”

As the bill moved through the state legislative process, TST threatened to sue the state if any of its members were banned from serving as chaplains in the program.

SATANIC TEMPLE LEADER CHALLENGES ‘PATHETIC LITTLE COWARD’ DESANTIS TO DEBATE OVER GROUP’S TAX-EXEMPT STATUS

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After School Satan Lucien Temple

Lucien Greaves, is spokesman for The Satanic Temple, photographed outside a Salem courthouse. (Josh Reynolds for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

TST co-founder, Lucien Greaves told Fox News Digital the governor has made multiple comments about the organization without any knowledge of who they are or what they believe.

“This should be of significant concern to anybody, regardless of their own religious views,” Greaves said. “Worse, in signing HB 931 into law, the governor simply announced, from the podium at a press conference, that Satanists were to be considered unqualified for the school chaplaincy program while citing no legal theory to support his view.”

The co-founder of TST said the legislation indicates DeSantis is unaware of how the law works and unaware that the bill he signed into law “does in fact allow Satanic chaplains in schools,” revealing the governor is unaware of the limits of his authority.

DESANTIS PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR DEVIL STATUE DECAPITATOR, SAYS GOVT SHOULD NOT RECOGNIZE SATANISM AS ‘RELIGION’

Baphomet/Satanic Temple

The Baphomet statue is seen in the conversion room at the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts, on Oct. 8, 2019. (JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

After making the comments, Greaves posted on X that the IRS recognizes TST as a tax-exempt church.

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“If FL’s Republican administration deliberately excludes the group from the state’s new school chaplain program, that would constitute the kind of discrimination that would likely fail in court,” he posted.

The executive director of operations at TST, Rachel Chambliss, also sent an invitation to DeSantis to participate in a public debate with Greaves, regarding their status as a federally recognized religious organization.

“In light of Governor DeSantis’ recent remarks concerning our involvement in Florida’s new School Chaplain program, we find ourselves in respectful disagreement,” Chambliss wrote. “We believe that a public debate would provide an excellent platform to thoroughly discuss the principles of religious freedom in America.”

DeSantis’ office did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the matter.

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Still, Greaves called the governor’s actions “erroneous.”

“If I am correct, and DeSantis is merely engaging in empty grandstanding with a complete disregard for the intelligence of the people of Florida, he will surely ignore this challenge,” Greaves added.

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Newsom calls out Republican abortion policies in new ad running in Alabama

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Newsom calls out Republican abortion policies in new ad running in Alabama

In Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new political advertisement, two anxious young women in an SUV drive toward the Alabama state line.

The passenger says she thinks they’re going to make it, before a siren blares and the flashing lights of a police car appear in the rearview mirror.

“Miss,” a police officer who approaches the window says to the panicked driver, “I’m gonna need you to step out of the vehicle and take a pregnancy test.”

The fictional video is the latest in a series of visceral advertisements the California governor has aired in other states to call out a conservative campaign to walk back reproductive rights since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the nationwide right to abortion two years ago.

Newsom’s “Campaign for Democracy” will air the ad on broadcast networks and digital channels in Montgomery, Ala., for two weeks beginning on Monday, according to Lindsey Cobia, a senior advisor to Newsom. The governor is seeking to draw attention to attempts by Republican leaders to make it more difficult for residents of states with abortion bans to travel to other states for reproductive care.

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“Not enough attention has been placed on the fact that we’re not just criminalizing women’s access to reproductive care in certain states, now we’re criminalizing their travel,” Newsom said from a Sacramento Planned Parenthood clinic in an interview with MSNBC’s Jen Psaki that aired Sunday, calling escalating Republican backed anti-abortion policies “sickening.”

The governor also is working with state lawmakers on a bill that would temporarily allow Arizona providers to provide abortion care to Arizona patients in California.

Newsom called abortion rights the “moral issue” of our time and called former President Donald Trump “a liar” — warning that if the Republican is elected in November, he will approve a national abortion ban despite recently saying he would leave it up to states as he navigates how the issue could affect him at the polls.

“They’re not just talking about rights regression in states, they’re talking about the nationalization of rights being regressed… everybody watching knows that if Donald Trump becomes president of the United States again, he will sign a national abortion ban, period, full stop,” Newsom said on MSNBC. “He’s the one that’s responsible for the conditions that persist today.”

Newsom’s office is coordinating the legislation with Arizona’s Gov. Katie Hobbs and Atty. Gen. Kris Mayes, Democrats who denounced a recent Arizona Supreme Court ruling that upheld an 1864 abortion ban. The ban, which has yet to take effect, allows only abortions that are medically necessary to save the life of a pregnant patient.

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“Arizona Atty. Gen. Kris Mayes identified a need to expedite the ability for Arizona abortion providers to continue to provide care to Arizonans as a way to support patients in their state seeking abortion care in California,” Brandon Richards, a spokesperson for Newsom, said in a statement. “We are responding to this call and will have more details to share in the coming days.”

California voters approved an amendment to the state constitution in 2022 that protects access to abortion up until the point that a doctor believes the fetus can survive on its own. Doctors are allowed to perform abortions at any stage if a pregnancy poses a risk to the health of the pregnant person.

Since Roe vs. Wade was overturned, Newsom and state lawmakers have increased funding for people from out of state who seek abortions, and have cast the state as a safe haven for abortion services. The proposed legislation to make it easier for Arizona doctors to see patients in California is in response to an anticipated influx of patients from that state in light of the abortion ban.

Democrats are seizing on the issue of abortion, which could offer a political advantage in a crucial election year.

President Biden is campaigning for reelection in part on restoring the protections in Roe vs. Wade, and is blaming Trump for a wave of antiabortion policies.

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Trump has taken credit for nominating conservative justices who helped overturn abortion rights in 2022.

Democrats nationally used Alabama as a lightning rod for the dangers of a Trump presidency earlier this spring after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled in a lawsuit that embryos may be considered children — a move that temporarily halted in vitro fertilization services in the state. Republican leaders quickly reversed course and passed a bill to protect IVF, a process that usually involves the destruction of some embryos.

Alabama bans abortion at all stages of pregnancy, with no exception for pregnancies arising from rape. State Atty. Gen. Steve Marshall said last year that he could criminally prosecute people in Alabama who help women obtain abortions elsewhere — a claim the U.S. Justice Department has refuted.

“They want to deny access not just to reproductive care, but the future of women and girls — their life, their self determination,” Newsom said. “How can women support Donald Trump for election this November?”

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A battle over 100 words: Judge tentatively siding with California AG over students' gender identification

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A battle over 100 words: Judge tentatively siding with California AG over students' gender identification

One-hundred words. That is the court fight some parents in California are waging against Democratic lawmakers and the Newsom Administration, who are trying to stop voters from a proposed ballot measure that would require schools to notify parents if a child is changing their gender. The initiative would also protect female sports from transgender athletes (born males) and mandate that students use school facilities consistent with their birth gender.

Polls show a majority of Californian voters support the measures. However, the state legislature, where Democrats enjoy a super majority, refused to hear the bill, and Democrat State Attorney General Rob Bonta changed the initiative’s title from “Protect Kids of California Act” to the “Restrict Rights of Transgender Youth” initiative.

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California’s parents are pushing back against democratic lawmakers and the Newsom administration concerning a proposed measure that forces schools to notify parents if their child changes their gender. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Supporters also say Bonta changed the required 100-word summary of the initiative in a negative, misleading and pejorative way that they claim makes it nearly impossible to gather signatures or raise money.

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“His bias on these issues is clear, and he’s allowed to have his opinion,” says Dean McGee of the Liberty Justice Center, which brought the lawsuit against Bonta. “What he’s not allowed to do is mess with the democratic process in California. Rebrand this initiative in a way that makes it likely to fail, instead of giving it a fair shot at the ballot.”

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California Attorney General giving an interview.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta is being accused of changing a measure’s title from “Protect Kids of California Act” to the “Restrict Rights of Transgender Youth” initiative. (Loren Elliott/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

According to state statute, the Attorney General is required to “give a true and impartial statement of the purpose of the measure” so that it “shall neither be an argument, nor be likely to create prejudice, for or against the proposed measure.” 

On Thursday night, a judge tentatively denied the parents’ lawsuit, saying statutes also give the Attorney General “considerable latitude in preparing a title and summary” and “only upon clear and convincing proof” that the title and summary is “false, misleading, or inconsistent with the requirements” of the (elections code), can a judge step in.

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Gavin Newsom

The Newsom administration is facing a fight against California parents in court over a measure that requires schools to notify parents if their child is changing genders. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Stephen Acquisto previously served as the chief deputy legal affairs lawyer for then Governor Jerry Brown.

The parent activist group cited research showing that most voters only read an initiative’s title and summary. It claims changing words such as “protect,” “ensure,” and “fairness” to “require, restrict and prohibit” typically doom measures to fail at the ballot box.

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Rob Bonta, attorney general of California, responds during an interview.

California parents are calling for Rob Bonta, attorney general of California, to be “conflicted out.” (Loren Elliott/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“He’s attempting to bypass California’s abilities to evaluate this issue neutrally by writing a biased summary that people will be unlikely to support,” claims McGee. Leaders of Protect Kids California also say Bonta, a potential gubernatorial candidate, should be “conflicted out” because he’s already suing to stop the Chino Valley School District from adopting a similar policy.

“We recognize we are up against a rock and hard place. The system is rigged against us. The attorney general has a perverse incentive to draw this out until time runs out on us,” said attorney Nicole Pearson of Protect Kids California. “Big picture: They have the keys to the courthouse. Hopefully, the state will be forced to reissue a new title and summary and we can get this before voters where it belongs. If that happens, we will win.”

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Bonta’s office issued this statement: “Under California law, the Attorney General’s Office is responsible for issuing official titles and summaries describing the chief purpose and points of every proposed initiative… and stand by our title and summary for this measure.”

Judge Acquisto heard arguments Friday afternoon challenging his ruling. The parents’ group says it will likely appeal and hope to get on the 2026 ballot.

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