Today’s Albany Times Union editorializes that “a new plan would turn the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November each year into a school holiday. But suspending education on Election Day, a measure that is being pushed by a couple of state lawmakers, is hardly a remedy for the problem of low turnout.”
Instead, the paper argues that “New York needs to adopt some of these proven measures that have increased turnout in other states. Some, like same-day registration, will require a state constitutional amendment, but that shouldn’t stop the push for meaningful reforms.”
Please read the editorial for other ideas promoted by the paper.
David Schlosser takes a look at New York’s Independence Party in William & Mary Law School’s “State Of Elections,” writing “the Independence Party of the State of New York (IPNY) is a minor party that states on its website, “candidates and elected officials should be free to tell the voters what their views are, without dictates from political party bosses, special interest groups and restrictive party platforms.”
Colleague Jerry Goldfeder was fortunate to arrange for his Fordham Law School elections law class to visit with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her Supreme Court chambers.
Chris Bragg reports in the Times Union “for the second time in recent months, the state Board of Elections’ enforcement unit is going after a largely unknown former Brooklyn Assembly candidate, this time for failing to file campaign finance reports.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and state Board of Elections Chief Enforcement Counsel Risa Sugarman announced on Wednesday that Michele Adolphe – who lost a bid in 2014 for a Brooklyn Assembly seat – had been arrested for allegedly failing to file campaign finance disclosure reports with the Board of Elections, as required by law.”
New York Common Cause’s Susan Lerner writes in today’s Buffalo News that “the unanimous creation of the Buffalo Committee for Fair Elections through Public Financing by the Common Council provides hope that Buffalo, too, can join the list of cities adopting measures to improve their elections, and chipping away at the power of Big Money.”
Lerner argues that “despite the relative lack of media coverage, Election Day 2015 confirmed what has already been long suspected: Voters across the nation are fed up with the tidal wave of money in politics that has only gotten worse since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Through ballot referendums, they were able to take use of the ballot box instead of depending on their legislators, who all seem to have their hands tied. The latest election proves that when we the people come together, we can beat Big Money and bring balance back to our democracy.
Buffalo, too, can be part of this coast-to-coast emergence of a growing national movement to break the dominance of Big Money in our politics and the partisan gridlock that is crippling Washington and too many state capitals.”
Bill Mahoney takes a look at the growth of minor parties in York. In this Politico New York article, Mahoney informs readers that the Women’s Equality Party, the focus of most of the 2015 pre-election litigation over party “ownership,” only has 602 voters statewide.
From the article, “a large plurality of New York voters are still enrolled as Democrats. As of Nov. 1, 49.19 percent of active registered voters were enrolled in this party, though that number is slightly down from 49.38 percent from a year earlier.
The percentage of active voters registered as Republicans similarly fell from 23.87 percent to 23.67 percent.”
A chart listing party enrollment by Senate district is included.
ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON ELECTION LAW NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ORAL TESTIMONY BY INVITATION ONLY SUBJECT: Enhancing voter accessibility.
PURPOSE: To examine solutions to make voting, in person and absentee, more accessible for all voters, including early voting and no-excuse ballots.
ALBANY Wednesday November 18th, 2015 10:30 a.m. Hearing Room C, LOB Albany, NY
The Committee will take testimony relating to the range of issues associated with enhancing accessibility to the polls, including allowing early voting and no-excuse absentee ballots for voters and the effects of such proposals on the State budget.
The Women’s Equality Party was the focus of many court challenges this year. Where is the party headed?
Bill Mahoney takes a look at the party’s prospects in Politico New York, informing readers that “while both politicians moved to organize their nascent parties this summer, Cuomo’s WEP was beset by legal challenges from two factions attempting to keep him from controlling it. Due to notarization problems, the WEP was blocked from running candidates in a number of counties this year, but recent appellate court decisions seem to have left his allies firmly in control of the party.
Of the 58 local boards of elections in New York, 54 have posted detailed preliminary results from last Tuesday’s election. The WEP was on the ballot in 19 of the counties. In 16 of them, at least one candidate running on the party’s line ran in a single-victor race against a candidate who had the Reform Party’s line.”
Matthew Hamilton reports in the Times Union “good-government groups called — yet again — on Wednesday for lawmakers to return to Albany to address ethics before January.
“If not now, then when?” Citizens Union Director Dick Dadey said by phone, citing the trials, the recent release Joint Commission on Public Ethics review report and a new study that shows New York scores a D-minus on the public integrity scale. “The governor and the Legislature have made improvements. But we haven’t solved the problem.”
…….Well, the usual advocates wrote in a letter to Cuomo and the legislative leaders Wednesday that there’s plenty to do, including closing the LLC loophole; changing JCOPE”s structure, scope and voting procedures; further strengthening financial disclosure requirements for lawmakers; and streamlining and standardizing disclosure of lobbying activity.”
Today’s Buffalo News suggests New York learn a lesson from Ohio where voters approved an independent redistricting process. Unlike New York, where an advisory commissin was created by a constitutional amendment last year, Ohio is following more of the lead established by California and Arizona.
From the editorial: “In Ohio, voters and some forward-looking officeholders had had enough. They produced a new system that discourages gerrymandering from two directions: It creates a large commission that empowers minority party members and it provides guidance to the judicial system on how to evaluate redistricting plans that end up in the state’s courtrooms.”