Legal Immigrants to Vote Tuesday in ‘Mock Election’

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Photo by: Willis Arnold/Voices of NY)

In Jackson Heights on Election Day, non-naturalized immigrants will get a taste of what it’s like to vote, by marking ballots in a “mock election.” The event is designed to raise awareness that almost 1 million legal residents in New York City are ineligible to vote because they are not citizens.

Inspired by a recent mock election for foreigners living in Berlin, Germany, this is the first such mock election in the United States, said Kevin Douglas, an organizer of the election. At Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights, non-citizens will be able to cast their votes into ballot boxes using sample ballots from the Board of Elections. Jackson Heights was chosen because 55 percent of its residents are ineligible to vote.

This mock election underscores a bill before the City Council that would allow legal, documented residents who have lived in the city for at least six months, including those here on student or work visas, to vote in city, but not state or federal, elections. Of a total of 1.4 million non-citizens living in New York City, an estimated 900,000 are legal residents of voting age.

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