Monthly Archives: December 2016

Public Financing And Outside Income Become Special Session Topics

In NY State of apolitical, Nick Reisman reports that “the Legislative Ethics Commission could have approval for the private-sector pay earned by lawmakers, while a public financing program for state Supreme Court campaigns could also be created under new measures being discussed for a potential special session, several sources confirmed on Friday.”

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New York’s Estimated Population Loss Still Means State Likely To Lose 1 Congressional District

Based on yesterday’s Census Bureau population estimates, New York is still projected to lose only one congressional district after the 2020 census, despite the estimated population loss reported yesterday.

Here’s the Election Data Services, Inc. congressional reapportionment projection announcement:

No Change in Apportionment Allocations

With New 2016 Census Estimates; But Greater Change Likely by 2020

New Census Bureau population estimates for 2016 released today shows no change from lastyear’s study generated by Election Data Services, Inc. on which states would gain or lose congressional seats if the current numbers were used for apportionment in 2016. But projecting these numbers to 2020, using several different methods, leads to more states being impacted by the decennial census scheduled to take place in just four years.

The Bureau’s 2016 total population estimates shows the same eight states as identified last year being immediately impacted by changes in their congressional delegation if these new numbers were used for apportionment today. The states of Florida, North Carolina, Oregon and Texaswould each gain a single seat, while the states of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania would each lose a seat in Congress using the new data. The new numbers, however, reflect subtle changes taking place across the nation in birth and

death rates and resulting total population numbers that become magnified when the information is projected forward to coincide with the taking of the 2020 Census on April 1 that year. A short-term projection method, utilizing the change in population in just the past year (2015-2016), would trigger a second seat lost to Illinois and a gain in Montana (going from the atlarge seat they’ve had for the last three decades back to a two-member house delegation) on topof the changes anticipated last year. But Montana’s gain of a seat may not come about if one utilizes a long-term projection method (2010-2016), with that state’s seat instead becoming the fourth seat gained by Texas.

Using either methodology the population projections points towards a ten (10) seat change across

the nation come 2020. States that will gain single seats include Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Oregon and maybe Montana, while Florida is set to gain two congressional districts and

Texas could gain either three or four seats. Single seat losses will again occur in the Midwest and Northeast sections of the nation, where Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia will each lose a seat and Illinois could lose either one or two seats. All other states would keep the same number of representatives they were awarded in December, 2010 when the official 2010 Census numbers were released.

Using the new sets of projected 2020 data, the apportionment calculations show that 15 or 16 states could gain or lose districts by the time the Census is taken in 2020 in four years. The

gainers and losers are:

States Gaining Districts (6 or 7) States Losing Districts (9)

Arizona +1 (from 9 to 10) Alabama -1 (from 7 to 6)

Colorado +1 (from 7 to 8) Illinois -1 or -2 (from 18 to 17 or 16)

Florida +2 (from 27 to 29) Michigan -1 (from 14 to 13)

Montana even or +1 (from At-large to 2) Minnesota -1 (from 8 to 7)

North Carolina +1 (from 13 to 14) New York -1 (from 27 to 26)

Oregon +1 (from 5 to 6) Ohio -1 (from 16 to 15)

Texas +3 or +4 (from 36 to 39 or 40) Pennsylvania -1 (from 18 to 17)

Rhode Island -1 (from 2 to 1)

West Virginia -1 (from 3 to 2)

Earlier in the decade’s estimates indicated that both California and Virginia could have enough

population to gain another seat in 2020, but both last year’s study and this report based on the

new Census Bureau data for 2016 and projected to 2020 shows those states just missing the cut.

The short-term projection method showed that California, in fact captured the last available seat

(#435) just missing an actual loss in the delegation. There are just 435 congressional districts allocated to the states under a 1941 law capping the number of seats. Virginia’s additional seat

came in at seat number 439 (slipping two positions), missing the cut off by 107,282 people (nearly

double the margin reported last year).

The projections also demonstrate how close states are to the magic 435 cut off. Using the longterm projection model, Texas’s fourth additional seat occupies the magic 435 position, gaining that seat by just 41,029 people. Pennsylvania has the potential of losing two seats, having captured position 434 or 433 (depending on the projection methodology) by less than 90,000 people.

Kimball Brace, President of Election Data Services, Inc. cautioned users to take the projections

as very preliminary and subject to change. “The change in administration could have a profound impact on population change and growth in this nation,” Brace noted. “Having worked with Census data and estimates since the 1970s, it is important to remember that major events like Katrina and the 2008 recession each changed population growth patterns and that impacted and  changed the next apportionment,” he said.

Brace also noted that major changes in the counting process are in the works for 2020 and that reduced budget funding could impact those plans. “It would be ironic that Republican led efforts in the new Congress to cut government spending could cause Republican leaning states like Texas to lose out in apportionment,” said Brace. Texas is the big winner in the new projections, gaining three or four districts in the study.

The new 2016 estimates also point to how close a number of states stand to gain or lose a district.

Most notable are the states of:

Rhode Island – While keeping their two congressional districts with the 2016 numbers, the new data shows the state is now only 5,569 people away from dropping to a single district state. This has steadily decreased over the decade so far. Last year the state was 16,130 people away from losing its’ second seat, and the year before the margin was 21,389 in population The 2010 Census gave Rhode Island their second seat but only 52,481 people to spare. At this rate, they will be down to just one district in the next several years, the first time this has occurred to Rhode Island since 1789 when the nation was formed. This is confirmed in the 2020 study data They would join seven other states that also just have a single representative in the US House (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming). Note that one projection method shows Montana gaining a second seat. Wisconsin – The long-term trend methodology shows Wisconsin keeping it’s 8th congressional district, but with only 72,639 people to spare. It captured seat #433, just two away from the 435 cut-off point.

Because congressional apportionment also impacts the Electoral College and the vote for President, Election Data Services took the 2020 projections for each state and applied the Presidential election results from the past five Presidential contests to determine the Electoral College outcomes in the past 16 years. The study shows that none of the presidential contests would have elected a different presidential candidate using the new apportionment counts but they would have been more Republican in nature. For example, in 2012 President Obama would still have won the Electoral College, but with three less votes (329 vs 332) that he won at the time of the voting. The biggest change would have occurred in the 2000 presidential election where George Bush would have gained an additional 17 electoral votes had the new 2020 apportionment projections determined the number of congressional seats in each state.

The 2016 Electoral College vote that took place yesterday was muddled because 7 electors voted for a different candidate than what they had pledged based on the vote totals. As a result, the overall change in candidate votes based on the new apportionment numbers shows no difference in the bottom line results. President elect Trump’s ability to carry states that will be losing congressional seats in 2020 also contributed to a reversal of the pattern depicted in previous elections.

The 2016 population estimates have not been statistically adjusted for any known undercount.

No estimates were also not provided for U.S. military personnel overseas. This component has in the past been counted by the Census Bureau and allocated to the states. Overseas military personnel have been a factor in the apportionment formula for the past several decades, including the switching of the final district in 2000 that went from Utah to North Carolina.

Past apportionment studies by Election Data Services, Inc. can be found at A historical chart on the number of districts each state received each decade from 1789 to current is also available at this web address.

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Census: NY Lost More People Than Gained This Year

Rick Karlin reports in the Times Union on the Census Bureau’s latest state population estimates: “For the first time in a decade, New York State experienced a net population loss, as of July of last summer, according to the Empire Center which examined Census data.”

E.J. McMahon at the Empire Center also reports on the population loss here.

Congressional reapportionment estimates based on the numbers should be released by Election Data Services, Inc. and will be reported when available.


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Grand Juries Said To Hear Testimony On Inquiries Into de Blasio Fund-Raising

In the New York Times, William K. Rashbaum reports “Two separate grand juries in Manhattan have begun hearing testimony in connection with federal and state criminal investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fund-raising, according to several people with knowledge of the matters.”

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Senate Democrats Say Brooks’ Victory To Be Certified Friday

Matthew Hamilton reports the race the for the 32nd Senate Democratic member will be certified on Friday: “State Senate Democrats were celebrating Thursday evening after a state Supreme Court judge on Long Island ordered that a Democratic candidate’s victory in an island Senate race be certified Friday.

John Brooks leads by 257 votes in the race against incumbent Republican Sen. Michael Venditto. Democrats said only 210 ballots remain to be counted, assuring Brooks’ victory.”

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Another Voice: We Have To Fix New York’s Broken Electoral System

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman continues to wade into reforming New York’s electoral system with an oped in today’s Buffalo News. He will be recommending legislation to the legislature next year: “The New York Votes Act, which I plan to introduce at the beginning of the coming legislative session, will make voting easier. Early voting and no-excuse absentee voting will cut down long lines. Automatic voter registration for any eligible voter who comes in contact with a state agency will dramatically increase New York’s voter registration rate – currently among the worst in the nation.”

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NYC Campaign Finance Board To Meet December 15th

The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Thursday, December 15, at 10:00 AM. 
The meeting will be in the CFB’s office in Lower Manhattan, at 100 Church Street, on the 12th Floor. 
If you plan to attend the public meeting, please RSVP by email to Building security requires all visitors to provide photo identification before entering. 
Sign language interpretation is available. Please email by the close of business on Tuesday, December 13, if you plan to attend the meeting and require sign language interpretation. 

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A.G. Schneiderman Releases Comprehensive Report Examining Unprecedented Number Of Voter Complaints During April Presidential Primary And Proposes New Statewide Voting Protections And ReformsA.G.’s Civil Rights Bureau Uncovers Significant Barriers To Voting Before And During Elections Throughout New York State

From the Attorney  General:

Investigation By Attorney General’s Office Into The Purge Of More Than 100,000 Voters In Kings County Is Ongoing

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the results of his office’s statewide inquiry into widespread voter complaints received before, during, and after the April 2016 presidential primary. The inquiry found New York’s current election system erects significant barriers to voter access in at least two major ways: first, the state’s rules, laws, procedures, and practices governing voter registration prevented many New Yorkers from participating in the primary; second, some of the rules, laws, procedures, and practices governing voting itself restricted voter access to the ballot.

The Attorney General’s office launched the inquiry after receiving a record number of complaints from voters during the primary election. The 1,500 calls to the office’s voter protection hotline during the presidential primary were 10 times higher than any previous election.

“The voting issues we uncovered during the April primary were widespread, systemic and unacceptable,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “The right to vote is the right that protects all other rights. New York must become a national leader by protecting and expanding voting rights throughout the state.”

To follow up on individual voter complaints, the attorney general’s office contacted eight Boards of Election (BOEs) throughout the state – New York City (which covers Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens and Richmond counties), and Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Erie, Onondaga, Monroe, and Albany Counties. After the primary, the Office of the Attorney General sent letters to the BOEs that oversee elections in each of these counties requesting information regarding individual voter registration files, voter registration policies and procedures, and affidavit and absentee balloting information. Investigators also spoke with representatives of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) and the New York State Board of Elections.

Results of the Inquiry
Nearly two-thirds of complaints received by the Attorney General’s office involved barriers posed by voter registration rules, laws, procedures and practices, including:

Voters not affiliated with the Democratic or Republican party had to meet exceedingly restrictive deadlines for party enrollment in order to vote in the primary.
Voters were barred from voting because state agencies did not transmit registration information in a timely way, or at all, to local BOEs.

The DMV’s online registration system stalled twice and ultimately went offline after receiving an unprecedentedly high volume of registration requests prior to the deadline.

Voters were barred from voting because of errors on the part of local BOEs in processing registrations.

An additional 20 percent of complaints involved barriers posed by unwieldy laws, rules, procedures and practices related to the voting process, such as:
Local BOEs inhibited voter access to affidavit ballots

Reduced poll hours in select counties led to confusion and prevented some voters from voting

Voters were confused about their polling locations because they were not warned their polling place had moved.

The full “Report On Voter Access In The 2016 Presidential Primary” is available here.
To help alleviate these challenges, Attorney General Schneiderman also pledged to introduce the 2017 New York Votes Act, a comprehensive bill to reform the state’s voting systems. The reforms are aimed at simplifying the voting process, boosting voter registration, and expanding voter turnout. The reforms include:
Voter Registration

Automatic Registration of Eligible Voters

Any state or local “source agency” that collects information from a person who has formal contact with that agency as part of an application, registration or other similar process would be required to automatically electronically transmit identifying information for that person (e.g., name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number, Social Security Number) to the New York State Board of Elections (BOE) for inclusion in a statewide voter registration database.

Same-Day Registration For New Voters

Amend New York State Election Law to permit a qualified person who is not registered to vote in the state to appear personally at the appropriate polling place on the day of any primary, general or special election, register to vote, and simultaneously cast his or her ballot. Once the registration is vetted, the voter’s ballot would be counted, and the voter would be added to the voting rolls

Online Voter Registration

Allow electronic voter registration, so that any qualified registrant can complete the entire registration process online via a desktop computer or handheld device

Create a System of Permanent Voter Registration

Implement a system of “permanent” voter registration in the state by requiring the State BOE and local BOEs to update the registration of any consenting voter who moves within the state and submits change of address information to officials at designated government agencies.

Allow Registered Voters to Change Their Party Enrollment Closer to Primary Day

Allow already-registered voters to change their party affiliation up to 25 days (if so postmarked by mail) or up to ten days (if delivered in person to the local BOE) prior to any primary election


Adopt a System of Early Voting

Permit a registered voter to vote at the local BOE in the same county or city where the voter is registered, and at one or more other designated polling places, seven days per week (excluding certain holidays) starting two weeks before an election

Provide for “No Excuse” Absentee Voting

Repeal, in its entirety, the current requirement that absentee ballots can only be obtained and cast by otherwise qualified voters if they meet one of several statutorily-enumerated justifications for obtaining such ballots. The bill also would allow online submission of applications for absentee ballots.

Ensure Uniformity of Poll Site Hours Across the State

Require poll sites to open at 6:00 a.m. and close at 9:00 p.m. during all primary elections.

Consolidate Federal, State and Local Primaries on Single Day

Hold all statewide primary elections on one day in early June.

Enact Disaster Preparedness Protections

Vest authority in the Governor to delay elections; create procedures for relocating poll sites and extended absentee voting periods after a disaster; and provide broad authority to the State BOE to create the rules and plans necessary to conduct an election during an emergency

Enhance Access to the Ballot

Increase Language Access

Whenever any local BOE finds that 3% of the voting-age residents of an election precinct have Limited English Proficiency, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it shall provide ballots as well as registration or voting notices, forms, instructions, assistance, and other materials or information relating to the electoral process in the primary language of the population in question, in a manner that provides the same opportunity for access and participation as voters whose primary language is English

Protect Voters from Improper Challenges

Require a good faith basis and supporting documentation for anyone challenging voter eligibility on Election Day, as well as penalties for those who abuse this provision of the law

Restore Voting Rights for Citizens on Parole

Restore voting rights to parolees with felony convictions. Restoration would not be contingent upon payment of fees, fines, restitution, or other legal financial obligations

Enhance Poll Worker Training and Recruitment

Mandate all poll workers in the state complete training approved by the State BOE. Also, help local BOEs strengthen existing training programs

“Citizens Union is pleased to have Attorney General Schneiderman’s leadership on this important issue to modernize and improve the way New Yorkers register to vote and cast ballots. New York may not actively seek to suppress voter participation like other states did during this past election but its antiquated system of voting is nothing other than a passive form of voter suppression. Citizens Union has just launched a ten-year campaign to increase voter turnout throughout the state of New York to achieve many of the reforms laid out in the AG’s proposal. We look forward to working with him. New York has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the country in large part due to our old-fashioned voting laws and processes that produce noncompetitive elections. Our election system must focus on modernization by increasing the ways and days New Yorkers have to cast a ballot which this package of reforms seeks to do”, said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union, a New York City based democratic reform civic group.

“New York is consistently at the ‘bottom of the nation’s barrel’ in voting participation. That lousy ranking demands a policy response. NYPIRG applauds the Attorney General’s effort to push Albany to act. New York needs to be the nation’s engine in voter participation, not its caboose,” said Blair Horner, executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG).

“Voting in New York should be as simple as possible, but our outdated system makes it difficult for many to even get registered. Automatic voter registration has the potential to add a million eligible New Yorkers to the rolls, and implementing it at agencies beyond the DMV would make our state a nationwide leader. And, restoring the right to vote to individuals on parole would not only give 40,000 New Yorkers a second chance to contribute to our society, but also make it much easier to administer our elections,” said Jennifer L. Clark, Counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “The Brennan Center applauds the Attorney General for his leadership in helping bring New York State’s elections into the 21st century.”
“The success of our democracy depends on one person one vote. Citizen Action thanks the AG for his report, and urges the Governor and legislature to enact voting reform so that we reduce the barriers to voting and increase voter participation in New York,” said Ivette Alfonso, President of Citizen Action of NY.

“Attorney General Schneiderman’s review of the laws, policies, and practices that govern our voting process is crucial to understanding the weaknesses in the system and the steps we need to take to ensure integrity and fair access to this most basic aspect of our democracy,” said Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, who sponsors bills that would enact many of the reforms the Attorney General recommends. “We must reject the idea that the problems identified in this report are inevitable, and work to improve and modernize every aspect of the system—and remove unnecessary impediments—from the moment an eligible voter seeks to register until all votes are counted and the results are verified. I look forward to working with the Attorney General, my colleagues in the legislature, and many other New Yorkers who are committed to this vital effort.”

“For one reason or another, voter participation has dropped over the years to levels that are very concerning,” said Assemblymember Brennan (D-WF, Brooklyn). “This year, the Assembly passed one of my bills, A.3874, which would eliminate the current requirement that a voter must satisfy one of the excuses included in the State Constitution to receive an absentee ballot. Once these excuses are eliminated, a system can be created that permits voters to vote by mail. This bill provides voters, who find it difficult to physically appear at their polling location, the opportunity to ensure their ballot is counted on Election Day. With this measure, we hope to increase voter interest in elections and encourage more individuals to exercise their fundamental right to vote.”
“My office has never received as many complaints about Election Day operations as we did this year. My constituents experienced every hassle imaginable: long lines, broken scanners, a lack of supplies, even pollworkers furnishing incorrect information,” said Assemblymember Dan Quart. “While the Board of Elections should certainly improve their performance on Election Day, it is undeniable that we need to simplify and streamline the voting process to eliminate the importance of Election Day. Early voting is one important piece of this puzzle – when New Yorkers can vote on their own schedule, Election Day will operate much more smoothly for those who choose to go to the polls that day. I applaud all of my colleagues who have joined me in calling for policies that will improve our election system for all voters.”
“We need to better protect the right of everyday citizens to participate in their government through nominating candidates and voting,” said Assemblyman Thomas J. Abinanti.
“I am happy to stand with Attorney General Schneiderman on reforming the Board of Elections and the automated voting process and procedures,” said Assemblymember Latrice Walker. “Issues such as these are why I introduced ‘The Modernized Voter Registration Act (A.8626)’ – an omnibus bill that comprehensively protects the right to vote in New York. I am proud to stand with the Attorney General’s office championing these reforms.”
“Early voting increases citizen involvement and turnout in elections,” said Assemblymember Peoples-Stokes. “Exercising the right to vote should not be burdensome for New Yorkers. The early voting measure proposed in bill (A3117) will allow voters to cast a ballot in person prior to Election Day. Over the years Election Day has created a challenge for many voters at the polls ranging from long lines, wrong polling sites and/or faulty machines. I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman in supporting New York State’s early voting initiative. I look forward to New York keeping pace with the rest of the country in providing early voting.”   
“A critical element in the success of our form of government is that voting be made accessible to foster the widest possible participation,” said Assemblymember Colton. “Providing translation in the primary speaking language to large populations that speak English as a second language will encourage the largest number of voters. We need to make every effort to facilitate voting and translating voting materials in a bilingual manner will help accomplish that goal.” 
“Attorney General Schneiderman’s findings come as no surprise. The anger and frustration in the voice of an active voter who for one reason or another cannot cast a ballot is palpable, and it’s becoming a regular occurrence for my office; I can only imagine the nature of the calls and emails to AG Scheiderman’s office. We have to make changes. We have to give voters every opportunity to participate in our Democracy. I look forward to working alongside AG Schneiderman as he pursues the necessary reforms to help guarantee a New Yorker’s fundamental right to vote,” said Senator Martin Malavé Dilan.
“As elected officials we must protect one of our most sacred pillars of democracy, the right to vote,” said State Senator Leroy Comrie. “After an intense election season that saw many irregularities around the county and here in our state, voting reform is more critical than ever. As ranking member of the Elections Committee, I will work alongside Attorney General Schneiderman, my colleagues in government and the advocates to increase ballot access for all New Yorkers. It is our duty to empower voters–to not do so is akin to silencing them.”
“Today’s state laws fail New Yorkers trying to exercise their right to vote with broken, archaic rules — that has to change,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “The Attorney General’s report outlines real problems, and real solutions. Now Albany needs to take real action, including on my bill to create realistic time-frames for party enrollment (S570). Thank you to Attorney General Schneiderman, my colleagues, and advocacy partners for their continued focus on improving voting laws.”

“New York is one of the worst states for voter participation in the country and that needs to change. In many instances, New Yorkers move to other counties across the state and fail to transfer their voter registration and forget to re-enroll in their new voting district,” said Senator David Carlucci. “My bill, S.858, aims to make voting easier in New York by transferring voter registration and enrollment wherever someone moves in the state. By making the voting and registration process simpler, I believe that more New Yorkers will feel encouraged to vote.”
“It is imperative that we continue to urge members of our community to uphold their civic duty and vote during each election. Unfortunately, chronic problems with our voting apparatus appear to be worsening each election cycle. I thank the Attorney General’s office for taking New Yorkers complaints seriously, and calling for reforms to our electoral system that include legislative measures that I currently have before the State Senate. I look forward to working with Attorney General Schneiderman and my colleagues in the Legislature to ensure these reforms are enacted into our laws this session,” said Senator Ke Parker.
The inquiry is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Ajay Saini, Diane Lucas, and Sania Khan of the Civil Rights Bureau, led by Bureau Chief Lourdes Rosado, and Nicholas Suplina, Senior Advisor and Special Counsel, and Brian Mahanna, Chief of Staff. The Social Justice Division is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Alvin Bragg. 

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New York Needs A Political Primer on the State Constitutional Convention Referendum

Gotham Gazette publishes a primer on the state constitutional convention process by publishing an  “a slightly edited version of J.H. Snider’s introduction to a Fall 2016 symposium, “The Politics of State Constitutional Reform,” published by the Law & Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. The symposium provides a summary of notable presentations at a short course, A Political Primer on the Periodic State Constitutional Convention Referendum, presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, whose theme for 2016 was “Great Transformations: Political Science and the Big Questions of our Time.” The short course and symposium provide an inter- rather than intra-state perspective on New York’s November 7, 2017 referendum on whether to call a state constitutional convention. Gotham Gazette has previously published four op-eds by J.H. Snider providing an intra-state perspective on the upcoming referendum. “

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Bill Samuels Advocating For the 2017 Constitutional Convention Vote

Effective NY’s Bill Samuels is spearheading an effort to have state voters approve a mandatory 2017 referendum to hold a constitutional convention.  In a press release, Samuels said “On Election Day, New Yorkers will have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring our state government into the 21st Century and become a model for the rest of the nation to follow,” said Samuels. “Over the next year I will be doing everything I can to stimulate a robust and substantive discussion about the referendum, identify a legion of citizen legislators from around the state who could serve as delegates to the People’s Convention, and embolden our leading thinkers to brainstorm cutting-edge amendments our state should adopt for the good of all New Yorkers.”

A new website has been created for the effort at


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