NYS Board Of Elections Releases 2017 Legislative Priorities

The New York State Board of Elections agreed to a 2017 NYSBOE legislative agenda  on March 13th.  Thirteen of the twenty-two proposals are carried forward from 2016 and nine new items are provided for consideration.

A copy of the agenda can be read here:2017 NYSBOE Legislative Packet FINAL

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Tonight: How To Get On The Ballot In NYC

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 | 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

42 West 44 Street, Manhattan

Description:
This program will feature several respected election lawyers, as well as members from the Board of Elections and the Campaign Finance Board who will speak about the process by which a person who wants to run for office can do so. It will provide an overview of what is sometimes an intimidating process, break it down to basics, and provide attendees with an understanding of what is necessary to run for office in New York City.

Speakers will cover topics ranging from evaluating for which offices you are qualified to run, the mechanics of petitioning, the administrative process of filing and defending your petitions at the Board of Elections, an overview of why and how petitions wind up as the subject of court battles, and what happens when they do. There will also be information on a candidate’s responsibility to comply with Campaign Finance law, and a review of best practices for setting yourself up for a successful experience with those filings.

Speakers:
Martin E. Connor, Private Election Law practitioner; Former NYS Senate Minority Leader
Sarah K. Steiner, Private Election Law practitioner
Raphael Savino, Deputy General Counsel, Board of Elections in the City of New York
Matt Sollars, Director of Public Relations, Campaign Finance Board
Dan Cho, Director of Candidates Services, Campaign Finance Board

Sponsoring Association Committee:
Election Law Committee, Martin E. Connor, Chair

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New Yorkers Who Don’t Vote Would Pay $10 Fine Under Assemblywoman’s Bill

Manhattan Assembly Member Deborah Glick has introduced legislation that would penalize New Yorkers who fail to vote with a $10 fine. As reported by Glenn Blain in the NY Daily News, “under Glick’s bill, any eligible voter who fails to vote would be hit with the $10 fine unless they have a “valid excuse” why they couldn’t do so. The legislation does not specify what constitutes a valid excuse.”

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De Blasio Proves That Some Laws Are Made To Be Unbreakable

Jim Dwyer provides the best followup overview of the decision by state and federal prosecutors to drop investigations into Mayor deBlasio’s campaign efforts. He writes in the New York Times “money was not given directly to candidates, but to party committees, which can receive bigger piles of cash. Those committees could then legally transfer the inflated donations to candidates.”

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Courtesy FYI- Sunday Voting Rights Rally in NYC

Sunday, March 19th at 2 p.m. at Battery Park in Manhattan.
Sunday’s (3/19) Rally to Resist Voter Suppression, co-sponsored by like-minded good government and community groups, highlights the urgent need to overhaul our restrictive and outdated voting laws, which make it harder for New Yorkers to exercise their fundamental right to vote at every stage in the election process. 

Albany lawmakers are currently negotiating the Fiscal Year 2017-28 New York State Budget which is due on April 1st. For the second year in a row, Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal includes critical election law reform priorities like Early Voting, Automatic Voter Registration at the DMV, and Same-Day Voter Registration (one-stop voting). However, lawmakers have yet to include any corresponding state funding to enact these proposals, making it unlikely that State and County Boards of Elections would embrace or even be able to implement these much-needed overhauls. 
After several years of failing to modernize our election laws, New York’s poor election turnout and shameful voter registration and election day administration issues reached a fever pitch in 2016. On Monday, March 13th, New York’s women leaders rallied in Albany to commemorate 100 years of women’s suffrage and call for funding and enactment of these reforms in the budget. 135 women and organizations, including NYDLC leadership signed onto a letter requesting that state leaders include funding to make these proposals a 2017 reality.
Despite New York’s role as a bastion of diversity and progressivism, New York’s track record in the area of voting rights is disappointing. In the 2014 midterms, only 29% of New York’s voting-age citizens voted—the state’s lowest turnout in 40 years. As other states have embraced modernization, technology, and convenient pro-voter reforms to both voter registration and election administration, New York has been left in the dust. We must do better. We must fight against voter suppression and restrictive voting laws.
Co-sponsors of Sunday’s (3/19) 2PM RALLY TO RESIST VOTER SUPPRESSION at Battery Park in Manhattan include Common Cause/NY, SEIU 32bj, the NY Immigration Coalition, TWU 100, Hispanic Federation, The Brennan Center, NYC Votes, Make the Road New York, 2 Hours A Week, Brooklyn NAACP, Womens City Club of NY, and Public Citizen (List still in formation). 
Please lend your voice to this widespread and long overdue effort to ensure that New Yorkers’ fundamental voting rights are protected and respected. A great step toward that goal can be achieved in the next two weeks if our leadership in Albany enacts these reforms in the FY 2017-2018 budget. become law Albany must fund them in the budget. The event information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1244905385587799 

The New York Democratic Lawyers Council (NYDLC) is a coalition of attorneys and voting rights advocates who share the common goal of protecting each citizen’s right to vote by ensuring that all who are eligible can register easily, vote conveniently and without intimidation, and that all votes are counted accurately by reliable voting systems. You can learn more about NYDLC here and support NYDLC with your generous contribution in any amount here. 

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New York Ranks 41st In Voter Turnout In 2016

Capitol Confidential’s Matthew Hamilton informs us that “New York ranked 41st in the country for voter turnout in the 2016 general election, with just more than 57 percent of the “voting-eligible population” casting ballots, according to a new report.” The report was released by Nonprofit Vote and the U.S. Elections Project.

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NYC Bar Association Event Tomorrow: Yes Or No In November? Discussing A Constitutional Convention For New York

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 | 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Description:

New York voters have a big decision to make this November – whether to vote for or against convening a constitutional convention to examine the New York State Constitution. For many New Yorkers, this will be their first time seeing a constitutional convention question on the ballot; others may remember being asked that question in 1997 because in New York, every 20 years, the voters get to decide if a convention should be held. A yes vote would lead to an election for delegates in 2018 for a convention that would convene in April 2019. The delegates at that convention can debate whether New York’s Constitution—the document that determines the structure of New York State government and the rights of its citizens—should be changed.

This event will focus on the pros and cons of holding a convention and will feature panels of experts in areas including, among other topics, government ethics, LGBTQ rights, education, social welfare, and the judiciary. There will be an opportunity for questions after each panel. If you would like to submit a question for consideration in advance of the event, please click here. Additionally, if you would like to submit comments for consideration by the City Bar’s Task Force on the Constitutional Convention, you may do so here. Comments can be submitted until Wednesday, March 22.

Panelists:
Barbara Bartoletti, Legislative Director, League of Women Voters of New York State
Michael Cardozo, Partner, Proskauer Rose LLP
Dick Dadey, Executive Director, Citizens Union
Evan Davis, Senior Counsel, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Henry ‘Hank’ Greenberg, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig LLP
Helen Hershkoff, Professor of Constitutional Law and Civil Liberties, NYU School of Law
Adriene Holder, Attorney-in Charge, Civil Practice Legal Aid Society of NYC
Roberta Kaplan, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Arthur ‘Jerry’ Kremer, Chairman, Empire Government Strategies

This program is the second in a pair of events the City Bar is co-sponsoring with John Jay College of the City University of New York. The first will take place on Tuesday, March 14, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at John Jay College, 524 West 59th Street.  The program will feature a reporter roundtable discussion regarding a range of issues and the historical context relevant to holding a constitutional convention in New York.  For further details and to register for the March 14th program, click here.

Sponsoring Association Committee:
Task Force on the New York State Constitutional Convention, Margaret A. Dale, Co-Chair and Hon. Michael R. Sonberg, Co-Chair (For more information on the Task Force, click here)

Co-Sponsored by:
John Jay College of the City University of New York, Office of External Affairs and Department of Public Management

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