thursday, 17 january of 2019


New York legislature passes major election reform legislation

The New York state legislature on Monday passed a package of election and voting reform provisions meant to modify one of the most restrictive election systems in the country.

The measures were planned by Democrats, who have reclaimed control of all levels of state government for the first time in recent memory.

Measures introduced in the legislation include:

Implementation of same-day registration for the first time in state history
Establishment of an early-voting system for eligible voters
Allowing absentee by-mail voting for any voter without requiring a declared reason to do so
Requiring the Board of Elections to transfer the registration and enrollment of any voter who moves within New York State
Enabling 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote in advance of their 18th birthday, upon which date they will be registered automatically
Closing the “LLC Loophole” and holding LLC’s to the same aggregate contribution limit of $5,000 which currently applies to corporations
Consolidating Federal and State primaries, which will now be held on the same day
New York “consistently ranks as one of the worst voter turnout states in the nation.” During the 2014 midterms, only 34 percent of New York voters cast a ballot, a lower turnout rate than all but two other states. In 2016 New York’s turnout was lower than all but seven other states.

In support of the bill, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D) said:

Government should be about breaking down barriers, which is why the Senate Democratic Majority is making it easier for those who are eligible to vote. We need more voices in our democracy, not fewer…Other states have taken the lead on issues like early voting, same-day registration, pre-registration, and no-excuse absentee voting. It is time for New York State to catch up, so we can once again lead the way forward.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has indicated that he will sign the bill.

(Published by Jurist, January 16, 2018)

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