Queens-Politics will continue to support legislation for electoral reforms, increasing transparency, and streamlining pathways to citizenship. However, we feel the right to vote – to have a voice in freely electing the country’s leadership – is the inalienable right of a citizen, a fundamental concept of democracy, and one of the primary incentives for people to pursue citizenship.
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Press Release: Gearing up for the 2013 NYC elections, community groups and residents gather to discuss the importance of building a real and more inclusive democracy in New York.
- What: A community forum and panel discussion entitled “LOCAL MATTERS: This is what democracy should look like”
- When: Tuesday, November 27th, 6 – 8 PM
- Where: Queens Library at Flushing, 41-17 Main Street, Flushing, Room A & B
Information: Now that the state and federal elections are behind us, attention turns to next year’s City elections. Please join us on November 27th for a public forum on three issues that will have a significant impact on local politics and policy now and in the future: Participatory Budgeting, Re-districting & Minority Representation, and Non-Citizen Voting. Come and learn how the campaigns currently underway on these issues are working to bring a real and more inclusive democracy to New York. Panelists will include, Jackie Vimo, Director of Advocacy at the New York Immigration Coalition and steering committee member of the Participatory Budgeting Project NYC; Christina Chang, Advocacy and Organizing Associate at the MinKwon Center for Community Action and steering committee member of the 13% and Growing Coalition; Ron Hayduk, Professor at Queens College and steering committee member of the NY Coalition to Expand Voting Rights.
Moderated by Queens Community House.
Translation will be available in Spanish, Chinese and Korean.
This forum is co-sponsored by the Queens Library New Americans Program and Queens Community House.
Admission is free.
From the website:
The Coalition was formed in response to growing discrimination against immigrants in this country. Its purpose was to heighten the vital role that immigrants play in our communities and to rectify the lack of democratic voice experienced by 1.3 million legally-residing adults in New York City. Initially under the leadership of New Immigrant Community Empowerment, the Coalition was comprised of immigrant-rights organizations, groups promoting broader democratic participation, and representatives from unive
rsities, unions, social service non-profits, and small political parties. Coalition members helped write legislation granting voting rights in city elections (for mayor, controller, city council, and borough presidents) to non-citizens who have been legally residing in NYC for at least 6 months. The bill was introduced in the Council in 2005, but did not garner enough support to be brought to a hearing. The council member who introduced the bill was elected to the State Senate one year later, and the possibility of moving the legislation forward died with his departure.
In 2009, term-limits produced a large turnover in the composition of the Council, and the Coalition saw an opportunity to re-introduce the legislation. We approached the new Chair of the Immigration Committee, who agreed to sponsor a slightly revised piece of legislation. It was introduced in November 2010 as the “Voting Restoration Act [Intro 410].” Simultaneously, Coalition members set up meetings with individual council members to enlist support for the legislation, answering questions and concerns and informing them of the number of constituents within their district who would be affected. Within two months of its introduction, 21 out of 51 council members had signed on as co-sponsors.