New York City weighs allowing many immigrants to vote

NEW YORK - Hundreds of thousands of New York City immigrants could get the right to vote in local elections under a proposal before lawmakers.

City Council members discussed the plan at a hearing Thursday.

It would enfranchise people who are in the country legally, but aren't citizens. Advocates estimate that could be more than 800,000 people.

Many U.S. states once let non-citizens vote, though policies changed by the 1930s. Some Maryland cities now allow it, and the idea has been floated in New York for years.

Supporters say immigrants who pay taxes deserve to decide who spends them. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other opponents say voting should be reserved for citizens.

New York state election law prohibits immigrants from voting. Supporters argue the city can set its own policies for local elections.

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