Monthly Archives: September 2016

Public Sector Retirees Raise Alarm over Con Con

From Rick Karlin in the Times Union “public sector employees in New York have long taken comfort in the fact that their pensions are protected under the state constitution. But fears that this situation could be altered in a voter-approved Constitutional Convention has retirees alarmed and they are starting to urge a ”No” vote in the upcoming, once-every-twenty-year public ballot about whether there should be such a convention.”

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Today Is National Voter Registration Day

A message from NYC Votes:

Happy National #VoterRegistrationDay! Today is the perfect opportunity to introduce the #NYCVotes Street Team! This summer, they registered over 1,000 New Yorkers to vote across the boroughs:

Let’s keep that number rising! Today, register to vote in person, at one of 200 events taking place across #NYC, or do it online at

We need all New Yorkers at the polls this election day, and that begins with getting on the voter rolls. You have until 10/14 to register to vote in the general election. #VoteBetterNY #Elections2016

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Jerry Goldfeder’s Weekly Presidential Quiz

For this week:

Click to access JerryGoldfederDailyQuiz.pdf

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N.Y. City Council Drafting Bills To Regulate Political Nonprofits Like Campaign For One New York

Samar Khurshid reports in the Gotham Gazette: “at least three City Council members have made requests to the Council’s bill drafting unit to formulate legislation that would regulate political participation by and with “social welfare” nonprofit organizations. These are political advocacy, or lobbying, groups, which have been the subject of intense scrutiny in New York City of late due to the Campaign for One New York, a political nonprofit established by allies of Mayor Bill de Blasio.”

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Fordham Law Presidential Election Law Forum

Friday, September 30, 2016

Jerry Goldfeder, Special Counsel at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP and Adjunct Professor of Law at Fordham Law School, will be moderating the Fordham Law Review‘s Election Law Forum on September 30, 2016, at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus.

The Forum’s panels will include election law experts from around the country. The Keynote Address will be given by Michael Waldman, former speech writer for President Bill Clinton and currently President of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

Friday, September 30, 2016 at Fordham Law School, 150 West 62 Street, New York City

Lunch and Welcome Reception (12:00 to 12:30)
Panel 1 (12:30 to 1:50) (Moderated by Professor Jerry Goldfeder):

  • Prof. Edward B. Foley (Third-Party and Independent Presidential Candidate:  The Need for a Runoff Mechanism)
  • Prof. Eugene D. Mazo (Some Thoughts on Presidential Ineligibility in the Midst of a Presidential Campaign)
  • Prof. Michael T. Morley (Reforming the Contested Convention:  Rethinking the Presidential Nomination Process)
  • Richard Winger (Does the Constitution Provide More Ballot Access Protection for Presidential Elections than in U.S. House Elections?)

Panel 2 (2:00 to 3:00) (Moderated by Professor Jerry Goldfeder):

  • Prof. Derek T. Muller (Natural Born Citizen Challenges in the 2016 Presidential Election)
  • Prof. Anthony J. Gaughan (Ramshackle Federalism:  America’s Archaic and Dysfunctional Presidential Election System)
  • Sean J. Wright (Time to End Presidential Caucuses)

Keynote Address (3:15 to 3:45)

  • Michael Waldman (President of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law)

Topics will include:

  • Third-Party and Independent Presidential Candidates: The Need for a Runoff Mechanism
  • Reforming the Contested Convention: Rethinking the Presidential
  • Nomination Process
  • Natural Born Citizen Challenges in the 2016 Presidential Election
  • America’s Archaic and Dysfunctional Presidential Election System
  • The Future of Presidential Caucuses

To Register, email:

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NYC Launches Everything For The Voter In One Place

From NYC Votes:

NYC Votes today announces the launch of, a new website that provides everything New Yorkers need to vote at one, easy-to-remember address. consolidates links to the most important resources that New Yorkers need to cast a ballot that counts, all on one page. Voting resources in New York City have always been scattered over a number of loosely affiliated sites. Now, voters can turn to one site to do everything from registering to vote, to learning about the candidates, to locating their poll site on Election Day.

NYC Votes will launch a promotional campaign around that will include 125 bus shelter and phone kiosk ads (space provided by NYC & Company), local media ad placements, and targeted promotions on Facebook and Twitter.

The site was developed in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation (MOTI) which conceived the clean, user-friendly site design. MOTI provided critical resources to launching the site in time for the historic November election. 

“Voting is one of the best ways to ensure your voice is heard, but sadly, the process too often deters people. For many New Yorkers it can be incredibly tiresome trying to navigate federal, state and local resources to determine basic information like what’s on the ballot or whether or not you’re registered to vote ” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The beauty of is in its simplicity. The site doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel – instead it consolidates the most commonly requested voting information and helps point New Yorkers in the right direction.”

“For far too long, New Yorkers have been forced to jump from one site to another to get reliable voting information. That all changes with the launch of,” said Amy Loprest, executive director of the New York City Campaign Finance Board. “Now we just need to remember one site – – to find everything.’

“ is how government should work in the smartphone era. It’s a great example of how government can use everyday digital technology to make life — and voting — easier for the average person,” said John Kaehny, co-chair of the NYC Transparency Working Group and executive director of Reinvent Albany.

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NYC Launches Voter Registration Project In Six Languages

Press Release from Mayor Bill deBlasio:

Voter registration forms expanded to include Albanian, Greek, Italian, Polish, Tagalog, Yiddish

 As part of the Administration’s efforts to expand voting participation and access, Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the launch of voter registration forms in six new languages: Albanian, Greek, Italian, Polish, Tagalog, and Yiddish. Now over 90 percent of Limited English Proficient New Yorkers have access to voter registration forms in the language they speak at home.


“New York is a city of immigrants. Now this November, the diverse communities that make New York City great will be empowered to make their voices heard,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This announcement marks our ongoing commitment to ensure that every eligible New Yorker can go to the polls and participate in a hallmark of American democracy.”


The new forms will be available on the Campaign Finance Board website (, which is also found on the homepage of under “Register to Vote.” Starting this month, the Campaign Finance Board will provide these voter registration forms to public libraries and elected officials’ offices so they are easily accessible.


The new forms will be available on the Campaign Finance Board website, which can also be found on under “Register to Vote.” Starting this month, the Campaign Finance Board will provide these voter registration forms to public libraries and elected officials’ offices so they are easily accessible.


“Over 200 languages are spoken in New York City, making it the most diverse city in America,” said Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “Now when New Yorkers register to vote this fall, they will be able to register in the language that they speak. This is an effective way to cultivate civic participation.”


Amy Loprest, Executive Director of the New York City Campaign Finance Board said, “New Yorkers will be making a critical decision about the future on November 8, but they won’t have a say if they aren’t registered to vote! Making voter registration forms available in more languages is a declaration that in New York City, the greatest, most diverse city on the planet, democracy is open to all U.S. citizens.”


Starting in July 2016, voter registration forms were available in Russian, Urdu, Haitian Creole, French, and Arabic alongside voter registration forms already available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Bangla. To find these forms, visit


The City is also providing support to immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens through its NYCitizenship program, which Mayor de Blasio launched earlier this year. As part of NYCitizenship, New York City residents receive appointments with a trusted attorney for help with citizenship applications, information sessions about the citizenship process and its benefits, and free and confidential financial counseling. U.S. citizenship gives residents the right to travel with a U.S. passport, vote in elections, and access more job opportunities. To learn more, visit


“We have a moral obligation to ensure every single New Yorker who’s eligible to vote gets the opportunity to do so, and that starts with accessibility,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I’m proud that New York City now offers voter registration forms in sixteen languages, covering more than 90 percent of our Limited English Proficient population.”


“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for prioritizing improved access to, and participation in, the democratic process by increasing the number of languages available on voter registration forms in New York City. Our residents make up the most diverse city in our nation, and this is especially true in Brooklyn where 47 percent of households in Brooklyn speak a language other than English at home. Improved participation in our electoral process is integral if we are to realize an inclusive city for all,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.


“I applaud Mayor de Blasio for this initiative, which will help make sure all eligible New Yorkers can fully participate in our democracy and exercise their most sacred right as Americans come this November,” said Assembly Member N. Nick Perry, Chairman of the NYS Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.


“The ability to influence government through voting is a basic principle our great country was founded upon. Many immigrants who come to New York arrive from countries that deprive them of their right to vote by setting up barriers and obstacles. Luckily here in New York we try to make the voting process as easy as possible. With the addition of new voter registration forms in six different languages we have truly improved the voting process. The new languages will do wonders in my district, as many of these languages are spoken throughout North Brooklyn. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for making the voting process more inclusive,” said Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol.


“New York’s greatest strength is its diversity and when we give more New Yorkers a say in their civic future we make for a more engaged, better represented, and inclusive New York,” said Assembly Member David Weprin. “As the Assembly member who represents one of the most diverse districts in the city, I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio and Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Nisha Agrawal for now offering voter registration forms in six new languages, for a total of sixteen languages in all.”


“The language barrier has worked against New Yorkers for far too long. I am proud that New York City has taken steps to making the power of democracy all inclusive. We need to continue this proactive approach encouraging all to participate in the electoral process,” said Assembly Member Mark Gjonaj.


“This represents another important milestone in our City’s initiatives to increase voter access and enable greater civic participation. Having grown up among many immigrant communities, I know the detrimental effect institutional and linguistic barriers can have on new citizens striving for the American Dream. I congratulate Mayor de Blasio on successfully expanding language services to these six communities, which now ensures that 9 out of every 10 New Yorkers who might struggle with English can still exercise their constitutional right to vote,” said Assembly Member Ron Kim.


“Language must not be a barrier for eligible voters in New York City. Eliminating this barrier will accelerate civic engagement in the immigrant communities that contribute so much to New York’s culture and economy. I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio for understanding this and providing voter registration forms in even more languages,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigration.   


“Thanks to Mayor de Blasio for expanding voting rights in New York City. As a Council Member representing a significant Albanian constituency in my district, the addition of forms written in Albanian and five other new languages will be a phenomenal improvement,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen.


“Our democracy is stronger when everyone participates. At a time when there are those trying to divide communities, the Administration’s commitment to inclusion is more welcome than ever,” said Council Member Stephen Levin.


“I am proud that we are expanding voting access to even more New Yorkers. As a city with hundreds of languages spoken throughout our city every day, we are working to make voter registration forms inclusive for all. Many of these additional languages, especially Greek, are languages that I hear spoken every day in Astoria. I thank the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Campaign Finance Board for taking the lead with this initiative,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides.


“I applaud the efforts of the Mayor’s Office to give greater access to the voting process for people with limited English by translating the Voter Registrations forms into 6 new languages. This will allow people the opportunity to read material in their own language and enable them to have a better understanding of the voting process, thereby increasing voter participation,” said Council Member Alan Maisel.


Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director, Make the Road New York said, “It’s absolutely critical to our democracy that all voters, regardless of what language they speak, have the information they need to register to vote and cast their ballot. Immigrants across this city welcome this effort to increase voter access for all.”


“We commend Mayor de Blasio, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and the NYC Campaign Finance Board for their efforts to expand voter registration. In addition to the top ten languages spoken in NYC, we are excited to have voter registration forms available in six additional languages,” said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “This effort showcases the Mayor’s continued efforts to be inclusive of as many immigrant communities as possible and help them to become civically engaged. Now our immigrant community members from the Philippines, Albania, Italy, Greece, Poland, and Eastern Europe will be able to register in their native language.” 


“This is a great accomplishment, the great effort and hard work of Mayor de Blasio and his Administration will be very helpful to all, and it will give everyone an opportunity to be part of the democratic process. We are grateful and thankful to the Honorable Mayor for including our fast growing Jewish community with a large Yiddish speaking population in NYC. It will be a great help to expand voter registration. This is another step in the right direction to make this city even better, where all voices will be heard,” said Rabbi Moishe Indig, Jewish Community Council of Williamsburg.


“As the second largest Yiddish-speaking community in the city, we applaud Mayor de Blasio for making available voter registration forms in Yiddish, the sixth-most common language in our great city. In line with the Mayor’s quest for equality, this will enfranchise and give a voice to many more voters to be heard and be counted, which is the core of democracy,” said Rabbi David Niederman, President of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn.


“UniPro is excited to hear that the City’s Language Access Initiatives have expanded voter registration forms to include Tagalog. As one of the fastest growing API groups in NYC today, now is the time to activate the power of the Pilipino American electorate. This November, Pilipino community organizations and political clubs across the city are coming together to make sure our voices are heard, that we elect leaders who will listen to our issues and recognize our needs, and that we continue to keep those legislators accountable to their promises. MOIA’s new forms in Tagalog are effectively breaking the language access barriers that have so often disenfranchised our community. We’re proud that the Mayor’s Office has taken the important step to include our voices in the democratic process. UniPro will make sure our voices are heard,” said Stephanie Chrispin, President of Pilipino America Unity for Progress (UniPro).


“I think the inclusion of Polish is great for our community, especially the older population, so that they can fully participate in the election process,” said Bozena Kaminski, President of Polish and Slavic Center.


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Mapping Site Shows Shift In Mayor de Blasio’s Fund-Raising

From yesterday-  William Neuman presents an overview of the new CUNY Mapping Service’s website enabling viewers to see where political contributions made:

“You can get a sense of where his financial support is coming from,” said Steve Romalewski, director of the CUNY mapping service at the graduate center, who helped develop the mapping website. “You can instantly see that the support is now from all over the city.”

The mapping website was first created following the 2013 city elections, but this month the Campaign Finance Board unveiled a newer version that gives users more tools to view the data.”

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2016 Again Highlights New York ‘Incumbency Protection Machine’

The Gotham Gazette takes a look at last week’s primaries and reports on the reelection rates of the majority of state legislators running unopposed.

William Fowler takes a look at the law, the incumbents and the  reasons why there is so little turnover in Albany: “One, is the gerrymandering that occurs allowing lawmakers to draw their own district lines…[two is] a disgraceful campaign finance system that allows them to hit up special interests for ridiculous amounts of money,” said Blair Horner, executive director at the New York Public Interest Research Group, referring to a lack of “pay-to-play” restrictions on campaign donors with government business. “You overlay that with the lousy system of running elections in general — which is, voter registration laws are cumbersome, we have a closed primary system, getting on the ballot is difficult — and as a result New York has anemic voter turnout, one of the worst in the country.”

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins does not represent part of The Bronx County as the article asserts.






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Campaign Finance Board Considers Rules Changes, Including Controversial ‘Coordination’ Proposal

In the Gotham Gazette, Samar Khurshid reports “ahead of next year’s elections, the New York City Campaign Finance Board is considering a number of rules changes that would make the city campaign finance system more efficient and clear, and less onerous. One proposal on the list, however, has raised the hackles of unions, nonprofits, and campaign finance experts.”

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