NEW YORK - New York City lawmakers are considering a proposal to give hundreds of thousands of immigrants the right to vote in local elections.
It would enfranchise people who are in the country legally, but aren't citizens. Advocates estimate that could be more than 800,000 people. The proposal was discussed at a City Council hearing Thursday.
Many U.S. states once let non-citizens vote, though policies changed by the 1930s. Some Maryland cities now allow it in their local elections.
Supporters see immigrant voting as a matter of taxpayer fairness and civic engagement. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other opponents say voting should be reserved for citizens and represents a goal for newcomers.
Advocates and the mayor's office dispute whether the City Council has the authority to allow non-citizens to vote in the city.