Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics



  • State Senate Again Starts Legislative Session with Voting and Election Reforms

    At the polls (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Democrats in the New York State Senate announced plans to pass a package of voting and election reforms on Monday, marking the fifth year in a row since taking the majority that they have highlighted the issue at the top of the legislation session.

    Since 2019 Democrats have ushered in a new electoral landscape, including early voting, automatic voter registration, and the New York State Voting Rights Act, among many other shifts. The latest package in the Senate sets the tone on election issues ahead of Governor Kathy Hochul's

  • Max Politics Podcast: Kristen Gonzalez is Heading Toward the New York State Senate

    Kristen Gonzalez (photo: Gonzalez campaign)

    September 7, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Kristen Gonzalez is Likely Heading to the New York State Senate

    Kristen Gonzalez, a democratic socialist, won her August Democratic primary election for a new State Senate seat (district 59) covering parts of western Queens and Brooklyn as well as a slice of the East Side of Manhattan, and is all but certain to win the general election and become a State Senator in January. She joined the show to discuss her winning campaign, policy priorities, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and

  • A Closer Look at Voter Turnout in New York's August 2022 Primaries

    Voters at the polls (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    The August primary election for congressional and State Senate races in New York saw significantly low voter turnout, barely topping single digits in many districts across the state. It was the predictable outcome of an unprecedented election that resulted from a tumultuous redistricting process that unfolded this year, all adding to New York’s voter turnout crisis. Despite many competitive races, several of which were narrowly decided, New Yorkers again showed little enthusiasm to cast their ballots.

    The party primaries,

  • Absentee Ballot Programs Could Be 'Single Most Important Factor' in High-Profile NY-10 and NY-12 Congressional Races

    Voters on the move (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)

    There are less than three weeks until primary day, August 23, and the deadline for voters to request an absentee ballot is Monday, August 8. In New York’s 10th and 12th congressional districts, where there are heated Democratic primary contests underway, absentee ballots may play a particularly significant role under the peculiar circumstances of the election.

    “Absentee ballot organizing is likely to be the single most important factor in determining the winner of these races,” Neal Kwatra, founder of Metropolitan Public

  • Biden’s Budget Will Protect New York Elections, It Must Be Funded

    New York election (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Since Democrats reclaimed full control of New York state government in 2019, the Senate and Assembly have taken the lead in enacting a series of pro-voting rights reforms. The backlog was long, but they delivered major victories on early voting, automatic voter registration, and other pro-democracy actions with the goal of ensuring all New Yorkers have equal access to the ballot box and that our election systems are safe and secure.

    But for every

  • Series of Voting and Election Reforms on Table for Final Days of 2022 State Legislative Session

    Out to vote (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    The likelihood of Albany Democrats getting failed elections reforms back on the ballot in the next two years is dwindling as the end of the state legislative session approaches.

    Despite promising to get back on the horse immediately after a surprising referendum defeat last November, Democrats with supermajorities in both houses of the Legislaturedo not

  • Races to Watch in New York's June 2022 Primary Elections for Statewide Offices and The Assembly

    (l-r) Democratic candidates for Governor Tom Suozzi, Kathy Hochul & Jumaane Williams

    New York is slated to hold two separate primary elections this year after a chaotic redistricting process led to legal challenges and United States House of Representatives and State Senate district lines had to be redrawn.

    The primaries for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Comptroller, State Assembly, and U.S. Senate will be held in June, with early voting June 18-26 and primary day the 28th.

    Congressional and State Senate primaries will be held in August with early voting from August 13

  • For the Sake of Voter Turnout and Trust, New York Must Merge the Primaries

    Voters at the polls (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Due to the ongoing challenges to New York's redistricting maps approved by Democratic lawmakers earlier this year, New York voters may be required to vote in two separate primary elections this year, one in June and another in August.

    Issues with the new Congressional and State Senate district maps have thrown our upcoming party primaries into disarray and could run the risk of reducing voter turnout statewide. To preserve voter turnout and spare

  • City Council Pushes for $25 Million in Next Budget for Implementation of Noncitizen Voting

    Then-Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez leads a rally for noncitizen voting (photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council Media Unit)

    In January, the “Our City, Our Vote” law went into effect, allowing hundreds of thousands of noncitizens in New York City to vote in municipal elections. While there’s many months until they’ll be able to cast their votes, the New York City Council wants city officials and election administrators to be well prepared and conduct outreach to raise awareness, and is calling for $25 million in the next city budget to fund the implementation of the law.

    The new ...

  • Shouldn’t Statewide Elected Offices be Held by People Who Are Elected?

    Gov. Hochul & then-Lt. Gov. Benjamin (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)

    It is not unreasonable to assume that our six incumbent statewide elected officials first got their current jobs by being elected to them. Not unreasonable, but mostly not so. 

    Actually, four of the six incumbents in these jobs – Governor Kathy Hochul; recently-resigned Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin; Comptroller Tom DiNapoli; and U.S. Senator Kirstin Gillibrand —first came to serve in their roles through the operation of

  • Amid Federal Inaction, New York Democrats Look to Advance State Voting Rights Act

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    State Senator Zellnor Myrie of Brooklyn (photo: NY Senate)

    With the failure of federal voting rights legislation this month in the U.S. Senate, advocates in New York are redoubling a push to pass a sweeping state bill that would shore up voting protections for historically disenfranchised groups.

    Legislators introduced the John R. Lewis New York State Voting Rights Act in 2020 to fill at the state level some of the holes left in the federal Voting Rights Act after successive defangings by the U.S. Supreme Court in the past decade. The bill would enshrine a

  • Legislators to Introduce Bill to Reform New York City Board of Elections

    Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

    Voting in NYC (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    State lawmakers are amending a bill that could change the make-up and management structure of the New York City Board of Elections in an attempt to make the troubled agency more effective and accountable.

    "We've been working with both the State Board of Election for guidance, many election lawyers, many people familiar with the problems that the city has had forever with their

  • Failure of Ballot Questions Halts New York's Three-Year Expansion of Voting

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    An Albany rally for voting reform (photo: Senator Michael Gianaris)

    When New Yorkers voted down two state constitutional amendments this fall that would make it easier to vote they put a stunning stop to a three-year deluge of major statewide election reform.

    Voting rights advocates and Democratic state lawmakers are licking their wounds and looking ahead to the next legislative session, beginning in January, with a list of changes to election rules and operations, including some of the measures that just failed.


  • WATCH: What's Next After New Yorkers Voted on 5 State Constitutional Amendment Ballot Questions

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    Voter registration (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    After voters across New York State voted on five ballot proposals for potential state consitutional amendments, two were approved and three were disapproved. All five measures dealing with a variety of issues — from legislative redistricting to enviromental protections to voting rights — were on the 2021 general election ballot because they were proposed state constitutional amendments that had been passed by two consecutive classes of the State Legislature.

    In something of a

  • State Senate Examines Board of Elections at Oversight Hearing

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    State Senate elections hearing (photo: @CitizensUnionNY)

    The State Senate analyzed the execution of the June primary elections in a major hearing Tuesday that included testimony from election administrators for New York City and State, as well as counties, and election reform experts. The lawmakers not only examined how elections were run, but the systems and structures that undergirded their performance -- and, as many said, enabled their failures. 

    Tuesday's event was unusual in that it served as the culmination of a series of public hearings held

  • State Senate Launches 2021 Election Oversight with Series of Voter-Centered Hearings, Board Reform on Menu

    senator zell myrie budget hearing

    State Senator Myrie (photo: NY Senate Media Services)

    The New York State Senate election committee may be breaking the mold of cyclical and predictable debate about voting administration and its discontents with a series of public hearings meant to broadly chronicle the experiences and ideas of voters across the state.

    The committee is holding four hearings "in every corner of the state" to give a platform to voters ahead of the traditional post-election oversight hearing where lawmakers interrogate election

  • Council Countdown

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    The City Council chambers (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)

    Welcome to Council Countdown.

    Gotham Gazette, City Limits, City & State, and The Queens Eagle are teaming up to cover the dozens of competitive New York City Council races that are part of the 2021 city election cycle heading toward June primaries and the fall general election. From late April into June, the four publications will report on more than 40 competitive City Council races to help voters know the dynamics of those elections and about the candidates running in

  • Paths to Victory: Which Voters are the Democratic Mayoral Candidates Aiming For?

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    Voters voting (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    With just one week left till primary day and early voting already underway, the Democratic candidates for mayor are in a mad dash to make their final impressions with voters. The final official TV debate is set for Wednesday, June 16, and will see the top eight candidates take the stage again with just a few days before primary day, June 22. But while that debate is meant for “leading contenders,” it's becoming clear that some of those candidates have virtually no shot at winning the

  • Max Politics Podcast: Breaking Down the Race for Manhattan District Attorney

    Gotham Gazette: Breaking Down the Race for Manhattan District Attorney

    (l-r) Top: Tahanie Aboushi, Alvin Bragg, Eliza Orlins, Tali Farhadian Weinstein; Bottom Liz Crotty, Dan Quart, Diana Florence, Lucy Lang

    June 9, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: Breaking Down the Race for Manhattan District Attorney

    The Democratic primary for Manhattan District Attorney is one of the most important and competitive races happening this month. Two reporters who have been covering the race -- Jonah Bromwich of The New York Times and Deanna Paul

  • Stop the Ranked-Choice Fear-Mongering — If Maine Can Do It, So Can We

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    Voting (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    I moved from Manhattan to Maine in early 2020 to run the Democratic Party’s inaugural voter protection team in the Pine Tree State, trading lox for lobster rolls and the deep blue West Village for a purple battleground. But while Maine still had a Republican senator and had only recently dumped proto-Trump Governor Paul LePage, it did have one major liberal leg up on New York: far more voter-friendly ballot access laws.

    Here in the Empire State, the Constitution bars no-excuse absentee

  • If All Politics Is Local — How Do We Get People to Vote Local?

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    Student voter registration (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office))

    As New York City heads into the final stretch of the 2021 local primary elections, candidates will be working overtime for votes. If history serves as a guide, turnout will be low. While so much effort goes into registering people to vote and getting them to the polls, we should focus more on indirect measures that can have larger impacts. This includes shifting the local election

  • As Latest Reforms Head to Voters for Approval, Advocates Celebrate Passage of Extensive Election Package

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    Voting (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    The New York State Assembly on Tuesday approved two bills that would amend the state constitution to make significant changes to voting laws, and the proposals will now go to voters on this fall’s ballot.

    One would allow voters to request “no excuse” absentee ballots, opening up voting by mail to all. The other would allow voters to register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day. The bills had been previously approved by the Senate, and passed by both houses of the State Legislature

  • New York Voters Face Sharply Reduced Choices in Future Elections

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    Voting (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)

    In April 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo virtually forced the New York legislature to make severe changes to New York’s ballot access laws, by inserting those changes into a budget bill, which had to pass in order to avoid chaos. If those changes are not reversed, New York voters will invariably see only two candidates on their general election ballots in 2022 for almost all congressional and statewide races. In 2024, for president, chances are also high that they will see only the Democratic and

  • City Comptroller Candidates Should Make This Pledge to Combat Climate Change

    may fight change

    The current comptroller, Scott Stringer, with Mayor de Blasio (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)

    Perhaps the single most important thing the New York City Comptroller can do to combat climate change is to insist that companies in which we invest our $230 billion of pension money adopt the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosure. This year, we will pick a new comptroller. We should insist that all candidates for the job pledge to call on companies to agree to the new reporting

  • It’s Time for a Really Robust Ranked-Choice Voting Education Effort

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    Voting (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Voting is the backbone of our democracy, and should reflect the will of the people. That is the idea behind New York City’s 2019 vote, in which 73% of voters supported a ballot question changing our electoral process from a single choice plurality voting to a new system, known as ranked-choice voting (RCV). Following the lead of cities like Minneapolis and San Francisco, voters decided it was time to change the way we select the leaders in our local government.

    In party primary and