National Liberal Groups Back ‘Fusion Voting’ In New York

In the Times Union, Chris Bragg reports “Leaders of 19 liberal organizations, including leading national grassroots groups, are calling for New York to keep its unique “fusion voting” system, which allows candidates to run on multiple political party ballot lines.

Some New York Democratic Party leaders have called for an end to fusion by the state Legislature this year, which critics says gives minor parties outsized influence.”

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NYS Legislature Considers Easier Access To Ballot

From David Lombardo at the Times Union: “Candidates in local elections might have a lower threshold to qualify for the ballot this year.

A change is being considered by state lawmakers in response to a new law that moved state and local primaries from September to June. It means candidates for local offices like in village, town or city races will have to start collecting signatures later this month to get on the ballot – four months earlier than usual.”

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Majority Of New Yorkers Plan On Completing Census Form

In the Times Union, David Lombardo reports: ” (t)he vast majority of New Yorkers say their household will probably complete the census next year.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Thursday, 64 percent of respondents said someone in their family will “definitely” partake in the process and 25 percent said someone “probably” will fill out the paperwork.”

Editor’s Note: according to census experts, any local census response rate below 73% is considered “hard to count” and jeopardizes an accurate census count.

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Malatras, Rosado To Lead Census Commission

Nick Reisman covers the appointment of the awaited Census 2020 Complete Count Commission here: “New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado and Rockefeller Institute President Jim Malatras will lead Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s panel on the coming 2020 U.S. Census, his office on Monday announced.

The panel, known as the New York State Complete Count Commission, will also include Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Deputy Commissioner of Faith-Based Community Development Karim Camara, New York City Office of Immigrant Affairs Commission Bitta Mostofi, Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon, New York City Planning Department Chief Demographic Officer Joseph Salvo and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.”

The Census is especially fraught as President Donald Trump’s administration seeks to include a box on whether a person is an undocumented immigrant, potentially leading to an undercount in areas like New York.

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Elections Commissioners Slam Sugarman, In Her Absence

In the Times Union, from Chris Bragg, “State Board of Elections commissioners roundly criticized Risa Sugarman, the state’s top election law enforcement official, for recently suing them — and then declining to show up to their regular monthly meeting in Albany on Thursday.”

Board of Elections co-chairs Douglas Kellner, left, and Peter Kosinski. (Paul Buckowski, Times Union)

On Jan. 18, Sugarman, the board’s independent chief enforcement counsel, filed a legal action in state Supreme Court in Albany that seeks to overturn regulations adopted by the board in August that rein in her office’s subpoena powers. The lawsuit also seeks to prevent the board’s politically appointed commissioners – two Democrats, two Republicans — from enforcing the new rules until the lawsuit is decided.

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Signing Voting Reform Bills, Cuomo Says There’s More To Do

From Nick Reisman in State of Politics, “Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law Thursday a package of bills designed to make it easier to vote and to register to vote in New York.

The bills include a consolidation of the state and federal party primaries to June, a bill that creates early voting in New York and a measure that would pre-register 16 and 17-year-olds.

Cuomo also wants to make Election Day a state holiday and extend the hours of voting for upstate counties on primary day to begin at 6 a.m.”

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Sugarman Sues To Strike Down Rules Reining In Subpoena Power

From Chris Bragg, at the Times Union, “Risa Sugarman, the state’s top election-law enforcement official, has filed a lawsuit to overturn regulations adopted by the state Board of Elections commissioners in August that sought to rein in her office’s subpoena powers.

A petition filed by Sugarman Friday in state Supreme Court in Albany seeks a court ruling striking down the regulations. The lawsuit also seeks to prevent the board’s commissioners from enforcing the rules until the lawsuit is decided.”

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