Monthly Archives: February 2018

Saratoga County Supervisors Reject Early Voting, Automatic Registration

In the Times Union, Wendy Liberatore reports “the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors disregarded the pleas from the public on Tuesday afternoon to break down barriers to voting by supporting Gov. Andrew’s Cuomo’s call for early voting and automatic voter registration through the DMV.

In a vote 21 to 2, the supervisors rejected the state’s call for both reforms because they are too costly, too confusing and, they believe, don’t increase voter turnout.” The measure considered by a resolution and is not binding.

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Hempstead Town Councilman Hired At Nassau Board Of Elections

Newsday reports that a Hempstead Town Council Member, on unpaid leave as a NYPD detective, was hired to work at the Nassau Board of Elections to work for the GOP commissioner on election security issues.  In today’s paper, Stefanie Dazio writes “Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito said he has been hired at the Nassau County Board of Elections as a $100,000 administrative assistant whose focus will draw on his experience as an NYPD detective to deal with polling place security and elections cybersecurity.

D’Esposito, a Republican from Island Park, began working at the elections board on Monday, he said Tuesday. He said he will be a “90 percent” employee so he can take time off for town board meetings.”

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Immigration Groups Oppose Census Citizenship Question

Betsy Plum of the New York Immigration Coalition appeared on Capitol Tonight to discuss Census 2020 and New York:

“Immigration groups are objecting to a potential new question on the 2020 census. The Department of Justice requested the addition of a citizenship question, and critics say that could scare of thousands of immigrants from responding. That could lead to under counting of the immigrant population, which right now is about one quarter of New York City’s population. And the smaller New York’s population appears, the fewer federal resources the state gets, and maybe even fewer congressional seats. Joining us from New York City to talk more about the issue is Betsy Plum of the New York Immigration Coalition.

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Saratoga Springs: Charter Change Recount Loses Court Battle

In the Times Union,  Wendy Liberatore reports “(a) bid to recount the votes cast in the city’s referendum on charter change has failed.

State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Nolan ruled on Feb. 6 that “the petitioner presents no facts to support or justify” a recount of the November 2017 vote because there is no law that requires the Saratoga County Board of Elections to do so when the vote margin is slim.

Gordon Boyd, a member of the now defunct Charter Review Commission, was looking for a recount after the proposal to update the city’s 100-year-old commission form of government was defeated by 10 votes.”

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Mayor Wants City Charter Revision to Tackle Campaign Finance; Census 2020 On Agenda

William Neuman in the NY Times writes: “Mayor Bill de Blasio will use the first State of the City address of his second term to announce a plan to change the City Charter as a way to improve the city’s campaign finance system.

Mr. de Blasio, who was plagued during his first term by ethical questions over his political fund-raising and the favors he did for deep-pocketed donors, will announce his plan on Tuesday night in his annual address, according to his press secretary, Eric F. Phillips.”

The Mayor is also expected to announce plans for Census 2020 outreach efforts.

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Heastie: Moving State Primary From Sept. 11 Likely

Nick Reisman reports in NY State of Politics: ” (t)he Legislature is likely to once again move the state and local primary day from Sept. 11, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Monday.

Lawmakers have in previous years moved the state primary to the Thursday of that week when it falls on the anniversary of the terror attacks. This year, Sept. 11 is also the final day of Rosh Hashanah this year.”

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Schneiderman Leads Coalition of 19 AGs Opposing Citizenship Question on 2020 Census

Press release:

Citizenship Question Would Directly Threaten States’ Fair Representation in Congress and Electoral College, Billions in Critical Federal Funding, By Undermining Census Participation among Immigrants – Causing Population Undercounts in State and Cities with Large Immigrant Communities, Like New York

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, leading a coalition of 19 Attorneys General and the State of Colorado, today urged the U.S. Department of Commerce to reject the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 decennial Census, which would directly threaten states’ fair representation in Congress and the Electoral College, as well as billions of dollars in critical federal funds for programs like Medicaid.

Under the Constitution, the Census Bureau has an obligation to determine “the whole number of persons in each state.” Yet the addition of a citizenship question to the Census is expected to depress participation among immigrants, causing a population undercount that would disproportionately harm states and cities with large immigrant communities. Non-citizens are counted in the Census for the purposes of federal funds, apportioning of congressional seats and Electoral College votes, and the drawing of state and local districts.

“Fair representation is at the heart of our democracy. Yet DOJ’s effort to add a citizenship question to our Census directly targets state like New York that have large, thriving immigrant populations – threatening our representation in Congress and the Electoral College and billions of dollars in federal funds on which New Yorkers rely,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “With fear on the rise in immigrant communities, it’s no surprise that many families would be frightened to participate in a Census that asked about citizenship. Our coalition will continue to fight back against these sorts of draconian polices that seek to punish states like New York that embrace and celebrate our diversity.”

The letter was led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and signed by the Attorneys General of New York, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, and the Governor of the State of Colorado. The letter is available here.

On December 12, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice requested that the Census Bureau include a citizenship question on the 2020 census form sent to every household in the United States, even though the Census is supposed to count all persons—citizens and non-citizens alike. The Department of Justice argued that the collection of such information was necessary to ensure proper enforcement of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Yet as the Attorneys General explain in today’s letter, the Justice Department’s proposal would have precisely the opposite effect by driving down participation in immigrant communities—a concern that is even more acute in today’s political climate. The resulting undercount would deprive immigrant communities of fair representation when legislative seats are apportioned and district lines are drawn.

To the extent that the Voting Rights Act requires a calculation of the number of eligible voters in a given jurisdiction, the Census Bureau provides an adequate—and far less intrusive—source of citizenship information based on sampling, including the American Community Survey.

The letter emphasizes the irreparable harm that will result from inaccuracies in the 2020 Census caused by the inclusion of a citizenship question. The decennial census is used to apportion seats in the House of Representatives, and to determine the total number of delegates each state receives in the Electoral College. As a result, an undercount of population in states that are home to large immigrant communities will impair fair representation, a principle fundamental to the fabric of our democracy. In addition, hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds are directly tied to demographic information obtained through the census, including Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program and Title I funding for local educational agencies. Consequently, inaccurate counts can potentially deprive states of much-needed funds designed to protect low-income and vulnerable communities.

The letter also explains that the threat to the accuracy of the 2020 Census is magnified by the extreme lateness of the Justice Department’s proposal. The Census Bureau is considering the addition of a citizenship question only three months before it is required to send a list of final questions to Congress. This short timeframe is not nearly enough to adequately test the full impact of the citizenship question, as required by the Census Bureau’s standards on data collection. These concerns are heightened by the Bureau’s already precarious fiscal position. The Bureau is dramatically underfunded, and the additional of a citizenship question would significantly increase the overall cost of completing the Census.

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