From the New York Democratic Lawyers Council:
NYDLC is joining with elected officials and good-government advocates in Albany and New York City in support of much-needed election law reform.
On Monday, New York Senate Democrats and the leaders of New York’s major good-government groups came together in support of a robust legislative overhaul package that, if enacted, would protect voting rights for eligible New York voters, modernize our election processes, and reduce unnecessary hurdles to participation in our democracy. NYDLC’s statement is included in the Senate Dems press release.
This Wednesday at 10:30 AM, NYDLC members will join Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at Federal Hall in Manhattan, where the AG will discuss the findings of his Report on Voter Access in the 2016 Presidential Primary, detailing ways that New York’s election system erects significant barriers to voter access. The AG is proposing a comprehensive reform bill intended to simplify the voting process, boost voter registration, and expand voter turnout.
The Senate Dems’ pro-voter “Resistance Agenda” includes several legislative priorities NYDLC has pursued for years, such as:
- Early Voting (a topic NYDLC has worked on extensively)
- Voter Empowerment Act (includes automatic registration at gov’t agencies)
- Preventing deceptive practices and voter suppression
- Repeal of the 10-day voter registration deadline
- Prohibiting Election Districts from being split on and off college campuses
In addition, the agenda includes other pro-voter priorities like modernizing our election processes (eg. online registration), reducing hurdles to voting by affidavit ballot, harmonizing deadlines for changes of party enrollment with existing registration deadlines, and consolidating the Federal and State primaries dates. Top NYDLC priorities like youth voter pre-registration and registration portability are included in the Voter Empowerment Act.
Blair Horner, ED of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) expressed a common refrain, explaining that “New York’s woeful participation rates are worsened by state laws that create obstacles to voting. New York needs a sweeping response; one that modernizes state voting laws with an eye toward making participation easier, not harder.” The NY Senate Dems’ Policy Group released a Report highlighting the shocking state of voting in New York. As election monitors, NYDLC members will not be surprised to hear some of the “shocking facts” highlighted by the report, such as: New York’s voter turnout is among our nation’s worst and New York is 1 of 13 states that denies early voting to its citizens!
NYDLC’s goal remains as it has always been–to ensure that all eligible voters have a meaningful opportunity to cast a ballot free from difficulty or intimidation and have their ballots counted accurately. If you have not done so recently, please consider making a contribution to NYDLC (click here) to help sustain our important work.