January’s focus – Expand Voting Rights!
As we wrap up this first month, it’s pretty fantastic that New York has passed such expansive voting reforms to start off 2019, among a number of other amazing pieces of progressive legislation. Really took the wind out of my action sails, to be honest!
But the month isn’t quite over, and there is more we can do in New York to expand voting! Governor Cuomo included several additional reforms in his executive budget, including (copied from here):
- Voting before noon upstate: State Election Law currently prohibits poll places from opening before noon in primary elections only in upstate New York, creating unequal access to the polls across the state. New Yorkers everywhere are entitled to the same opportunity to vote, and this year New York will ensure that voting hours are extended for primary elections upstate to match those voting hours across the rest of the state.
- Make Election Day a holiday: An inability to take time off of work should never be a barrier to voting. This year, New York will ensure that any New Yorker has time off to vote on Election Day.
- Automatic registration: Today New Yorkers are given the opportunity to register to vote when interacting with State agencies and they must affirmatively ask to be registered. The budget will include a proposal to reverse that process and register eligible New Yorkers to vote unless they affirmatively ask not to be registered. Automatic voter registration will not only boost voter registration and turnout in this state, it will also strengthen our democratic process.
- Online registration: Apart from DMV, there is currently no online option for voter registration in New York State. The budget will include a proposal to ensure automatic voter registration opportunities are available online, including allowing New Yorkers to apply to register to vote on the State Board of Elections website.
- Ban corporate contributions: Corporate money has overtaken our election system. The executive budget will include a proposal to ban all corporate contributions, restoring the power to the people and helping to remove dark money and special interest influences in our democratic process.
Contact your State Senate and Assembly members to ask them to sign on to legislation to pass these measures. These are all important additions to voting rights, easing the ability for New Yorkers to vote, and making campaigns a reflection of the voters, not corporations!
Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, District 113: (518) 584-5493
State Senator Daphne Jordan, District 43: (518) 455-2381