Monthly Archives: May 2017

As Legislative Leaders Warn Of Con Con Dangers, Good Government Groups Come Out In Favor

Rachel Silberstein reports in the Gotham Gazette: “(w)hile legislative leaders are declaring opposition to a New York State constitutional convention, government reform organizations are trending in the other direction, with some who were wary of the idea in previous years coming out in support or considering doing so.”

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Assembly To Pass Legislative Package To Expand Voting Opportunities

From an Assembly press release:

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Election Law Committee Chair Michael Cusick today announced the Assembly will pass a comprehensive package of legislation this week to improve voter participation by increasing voting opportunities and facilitating and modernizing the registration process.

“The Assembly Majority is committed to creating the most equitable election process possible for New York State voters,” said Speaker Heastie. “That is why our legislative package includes measures to reduce registration burdens and increases voting opportunities so that everyone can make their voice heard.”

“Voting is one of the greatest civic responsibilities we hold as citizens and therefore, as legislators, we have a responsibility to protect and expand access to the ballot,” said Assemblymember Cusick. “This legislation will ensure that voters are able to more effectively participate in the electoral process, and in turn, allow the government to better serve people.”

The package includes legislation that would give New Yorkers more opportunities to vote and greater flexibility in doing so. One measure would establish a seven-day early voting period for any registered New York voters to vote in person prior to any primary, special or general election day (A.2064, Kavanagh). Each county would be required provide a set amount of early voting hours, but would have the flexibility to offer hours that best meet the needs of its residents.

Another bill would amend the New York State Constitution to allow no excuse absentee voting (A.7623, Vanel). Under current law, absentee voting is only allowed if an individual expects to be absent on Election Day, or because of physical illness or disability. These measures offer a more equitable voting experience by allowing busy New Yorkers more options for casting their ballots.

Also included in the package is a bill that would make voting easier for New Yorkers, in addition to saving millions of dollars statewide for county boards of elections, by combining the federal non-presidential and state primaries to both be held in June (A.3052, Cusick). This legislation would also ensure New York’s compliance with the Military Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act and make voting more convenient for all New Yorkers by reducing the number of primary elections.

Another measure in this week’s legislative package is legislation aimed at promoting civic engagement among young voters. This bill would allow an individual who will be 18 years old at the time of a presidential election to vote in the primary election if he or she is 17 years of age (A.3549, Cusick).

Other measures expected to pass this week would ease the process of voter registration for New Yorkers. Under the Voter Enfranchisement Act of 2017, New York State would modernize voter registration by establishing an online voter registration process (A.5382, Cusick). In addition, applications to state and local agencies would incorporate voter registration applications as a seamless process for voters and facilitate electronic processing and registration by the boards of elections (A.6283, Walker).

Similarly, another bill would facilitate the voting process by automatically transferring voter’s registration when they move within New York State (A.3411, Kavanagh). Under current law, voters who move within New York but move out of their current county or New York City must update their registration before the established deadline in order to vote.

Additional legislation would help boards of elections recruit and retain essential staff by allowing election inspectors to split work days into shifts (A.6907-A, Hunter). During an election, polls are open an average of 16 hours, not including time needed for opening and closing the polls, and election inspectors are required to be present during this entire process.

Lastly, the package includes legislation that would extend New York City’s run-off election by one week to allow sufficient time to canvas, audit and test optical scanning machines following a primary election and adjusts several calendar deadlines and allows additional time for receipt of military ballots (A.7745, Carroll).

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Albany Might Delay New York City Run-off Elections

In Politico NY, Bill Mahoney reports that “a bill that has begun to move through the state Legislature would extend the period between primary and run-off elections in New York City from two to three weeks.”

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Board of Elections Called To Have Con-Con Question On Ballot Front

In State of Politics, Nick Reisman reports “a coalition of good-government and civic organizations on Thursday urged the state Board of Elections to print the question as to whether the state should hold a constitutional convention on the front of the November ballot.”

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NYC Votes Announces Winning Design in the “I Voted” Sticker Contest

Press release– NYC Votes is pleased to announce that the public has chosen a new design for the official New York City “I Voted” sticker, which will be distributed at polling places throughout the city on Election Day. The winning design will now go to print, making its debut during the citywide primary elections on Tuesday, September 12, 2017.

“I want to congratulate the winners and urge all New Yorkers to go cast their votes this fall and wear this beautiful new sticker with pride,” said Frederick Schaffer, Chairman of the NYC Campaign Finance Board (CFB). The CFB’s nonpartisan voter engagement initiative, NYC Votes organized the contest. “I think I can safely say that this contest has already started to get New Yorkers excited and thinking about the very real elections they’ll be voting in this fall.”

“We are thrilled with New Yorkers’ choice for the new ‘I Voted’ sticker and with the level of interest this contest has generated,” said Amy Loprest, Executive Director of the NYC Campaign Finance Board. “We’re hopeful that the sticker will inspire more New Yorkers to learn about the candidates in the citywide elections this year, turn out at the polls on Election Day, and show their neighbors they care about the future of their city.”

Bronxville residents Marie Dagata and Scott Heinz designed the winning sticker, which was inspired by the MTA subway map. “All the people of the boroughs meet together, pass each other, need each other in the subway and the voting booth,” said the winning designers, in reference to their submission.

The design submitted by Dagata, 59, and Heinz, 56, was chosen as one of ten finalists from more than 700 submissions that NYC Votes received in April. All of the final designs were selected based on their overall aesthetic quality, the strength and effectiveness of the design’s pro-voting message, and how well they represented New York City.

The sticker was chosen through a public vote in which nearly 10,000 “ballots” were cast via phones, computers or tablets. Voting was conducted during a two-week period, from Friday, April 28 through Tuesday, May 9, reflecting the timeframe given to voters in the many states with early voting laws. NYC Votes calculated the results using an instant runoff voting (IRV) model to identify the sticker with the broadest public support. The rules allowed voters to rank their top three designs in order of preference. A similar model is used in elections in San Francisco, Minneapolis, Maryland, Australia, and Ireland.

This table shows how the results were counted:

New York City’s current sticker has been in use since 2013, when the CFB launched its first public sticker design contest, which was won by then-10-year-old Zoe Markman. Now Dagata and Heinz’s design will replace Markman’s as the official sticker worn by voters on Election Day.

The winning sticker will be printed by the NYC Campaign Finance Board and distributed on Election Day in partnership with the NYC Board of Elections.

NYC Votes is the nonpartisan voter engagement initiative of the NYC Campaign Finance Board. For more information about the “I Voted” Sticker Contest, please contact the CFB at

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NYC Campaign Finance Board Votes on Enforcement Matters

Press release: At today’s regularly scheduled meeting, the New York City Campaign Finance Board (CFB) determined that violations were committed by one campaign from the 2013 citywide election cycle and one campaign from the 2012A special election. The Board assessed penalties for those violations and determined that one campaign from the 2013 citywide election would be required to repay public funds. Refer to the chart below for details on these determination.
Prior to the meeting, the winner of the “I Voted” sticker contest was announced. The winning design will now go to print, making its debut on the day of the primary elections on Tuesday, September 12, 2017.

Chairman Frederick Schaffer delivered the following remarks at the meeting:

“Monday is another filing deadline for candidates in the 2017 elections to disclose their campaign finance reports to the Board and the public. The two-month disclosure period ends today, and candidates may begin filing their reports as early as tomorrow.

This is a significant milestone on the path to the municipal elections for candidates, for the CFB, and for voters. As we get closer to summer, we are approaching the home stretch towards the party primaries on September 12, and the field for that election is starting to take shape. Of course, the general election will be held on November 8.

We will reach the next significant milestone on Monday, June 12, which is the deadline for 2017 candidates choosing to participate in the Campaign Finance Program. To be eligible to receive public funds, candidates must file their certification with the CFB by this date. In 2013, 92 percent of candidates on the primary ballots were program participants, and we expect similar numbers of candidates will join the program this year. As of last week, 59 candidates in the 2017 elections have already signed up for the program. For interested candidates, the certification form is available on our website at”

Violations and Penalties
(for details, follow the link in the Total Penalties column)

(Election Cycle)
Office Violation Penalty Total Penalties
Joseph  Nwachukwu

Public Funds Received: $0

City Council (District #12) 1. Failing to accurately report cash receipts No penality  $550
2. Failing to accurately report disbursements $500
3. Failing to report three in-kind contributions $50


(Election Cycle)
Office Violation Penalty Total Penalties
Darlene Mealy

Public Funds Received: $43,062

City Council (District #41) 1.  Failing to report transactions $593 $7,663
2.  Failing to demonstrate compliance with cash receipts reporting and documentation requirements $465
3. Failing to demonstrate compliance with reporting requirements for receipts and disbursements $1,500
4. Filing a late disclosure statement $50
5. Failing to file a disclosure statement No penalty
6. Accepting contributions from corporations $3,000
7. Accepting contributions from an unregistered political committee $233
8. Failing to document a transaction $100
9. Late Response to the Initial Documentation Request; Late Response to the Draft Audit Report $1,722

Public Funds Repayment

(Election Cycle)
Public Funds Received Public Funds Repayment
Darlene Mealy

City Council
(District #41)

$43,062 $9,499



Archived video of today’s meeting and hearing is available at

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NYC Disclosure Deadline for 2017 Candidates is May 15

Press release: The next deadline for candidates in the 2017 elections to disclose their campaign finance reports to the Campaign Finance Board (CFB) and the public is Monday, May 15.

The most recent two-month disclosure period under consideration began on Sunday, March 12 and ends today, Thursday, May 11. Candidates may begin filing their reports as early as tomorrow, May 12.

The CFB will be tweeting the net contributions and expenditures for each campaign as they arrive and the website will be updated frequently throughout the day.

For more information about the filing deadline, please contact the CFB at

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