Monthly Archives: October 2014

Professor Gerald Benjamin on Proposal One: Good Enough Not Good Enough

SUNY New Paltz Professor Gerald Benjamin, one of New York State’s leading government experts, tells us that the redistricting commission amendment is not good enough and should be rejected. Professor Benjamin does leave hope for a silver lining if the measure is rejected. Voters will be asked whether New York State should convene a constitutional convention in 2017. Perhaps a constitutional convention can do a better job creating a redistricting commission instead of what Professor Benjamin sees as a weak and less independent structure.

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NYC Council legislation would permit online voter registration

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos is introducing legislation to permit New York City residents to register to vote online, according to a New York Daily News article.

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Senator Liz Krueger Comes Out Against Redistricting Amendment

Senator Liz Krueger, a leading Albany reformer, has come out strongly against Proposal One, the redistricting commission amendment. Senate Democrats are also apparently coalescing against the proposal, with LATFOR Member Martin Malave Dilan also attacking the measure as phony. On top of that, the New York City Council Progressive Caucus has also released a statement opposing the measure.

Senator Krueger’s letter to “friends and colleages: can be accessed via this link:

Krueger-No-to-Fake-Reform-PDF

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Crains Weighs In With Article on Reform Groups Competing Over Redistricting Reform

Crains recently focused on the fight between Common Cause (opposed) and Citizens Union (in favor) over the redistricting commission amendment.

Interesting to note that Mr. Dadey of Citizens Union believes that the courts would not permit the legislature to gerrymander legislative districts again. Depending on the exact “gerrymandering” alleged, federal and state courts have been loathe to reject any redistricting plan based on unfairness. At least since the 1970s, the courts have deferred to the legislature on these questions. Unless the judicial standards of review change, there is still less likelihood of a court rejecting a plan.

The last redistricting plan rejected for “unfairness” was a plan veto from Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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Citizens Union Goes Hollywood: Releases “Vote Yes” On Redistricting Commission video

Citizens Union has posted a 2 minute plus professionally produced video to promote the redistricting commission amendment.

The video features former New York State Attorney General Robert Abrams, a Proposal One supporter. Mr. Abrams has had a change of mind from his days as Attorney General during the 1980s and 1990s redistricting challenges when his office showed up in court but let the Democratic Assembly and Republican Senate leaders defend the state plans. (Note- I worked as an attorney for Assembly Speakers in both decades).

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NEWSDAY editorializes on New York’s ballot questions

NEWSDAY has come out against the redistricting commission and education technology bond amendments and for an amendment to allow state legislators to vote on bills presented electronically instead of on paper (yes, there is a constitutional requirement that all bills to be voted on by state legislators be printed two days before a  vote can be taken) . It’s worth a read to get caught up on three ballot questions often overlooked by voters and the media.

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New York City Campaign Finance Board Issues Report on 2013 Elections and Contributions

The New York City Campaign Finance Board has issues a new report on the 2013 elections. The report, “By The People” addresses how campaigns relied on small contributions and how public funding reduced the impact of large donors and special interests.

The weblink to the report provides for a link where the report can be downloaded. The NYC Campaign Finance Board worked with the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate School to prepare maps showing contribution patters within New York City. An interactive map link is also included.

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