Will noncitizens pick New York's mayors?

The taxation argument isn’t persuasive. Nonresidents with second homes or apartments in the city pay property taxes, and they certainly have an interest in public services like police, fire and garbage collection. International students live in New York, and they might pay taxes of all kinds, or at least sales taxes on whatever they buy.

Does that mean they should get to vote in local races? The obvious answer is no. Permanent residents with green cards have deeper ties, but they can seek citizenship if they want to participate in political life. Otherwise we are degrading the meaning of citizenship, and it’s difficult to see a coherent limiting principle. Mayor-elect Eric Adams won the ranked-choice Democratic primary in June by 7,197 votes, so 800,000 noncitizens could be decisive.

Then there are the practical problems. Since noncitizens can’t vote in state or federal races, the New York City Board of Elections would have to manage a new second voter list and a completely separate set of ballots. The city board can’t run a smooth operation even without those added challenges, as it demonstrated last year.