Gotham Gazette

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voting reform

voting reform

  • Myrie Gianaris State Senate voting

    State Senators & election officials (photo: Senator Gianaris' office)


    After the June primaries, when tens of thousands of absentee ballots were rejected on technical grounds or never cast because they were mailed to voters late or not at all, state lawmakers passed a series of measures aimed at correcting some of those mishaps. But several other bills introduced by legislators and pushed by voting rights advocates that could prevent thousands of ballots from being thrown out are still on the table as the clock ticks toward the

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  • Myrie Senate

    State Senator Myrie in the Senate chamber (photo: State Senate)


    After June saw drastic shifts in how voting in New York is conducted, elections administrators, state legislators, and watchdogs have a long list of changes they want to see enacted before the general election this fall. But above all they want clarity from Governor Andrew Cuomo.

    Many of the key players in New York City and State elections testified Tuesday at an oversight hearing held by both houses of the Democrat-controlled Legislature examining the June primary, its successes and

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  • passed prop what

    Inspecting voting equipment (photo: Senator Michael Gianaris)


    The June 2020 primaries in New York were an unusually thick morass of bureaucratic challenges as the city and state election systems shifted to a mostly-mail-in format amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

    In New York City more than 80,000 mail-in ballots were disqualified on technical grounds -- a full fifth of the 400,000-plus ballots cast that way and a tenth of the total. Tens of thousands of ballots were either sent out late by the New York City Board of Elections or never delivered to voters who

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  • boe nyc votes table pandemic

    Voting during a pandemic (photo: @NYCVotes)


    Ahead of a special state legislative session set for next week, a coalition of election reform advocates is backing ten bills that would change or codify elements of the now widely-used absentee voting process before the fall general election.

    The agenda, released Thursday by the Let NY Vote coalition, comes amid party primary elections where the voting is over but the counting

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  • mt kitso pre

    New York has made some adjustments to voting amid COVID-19 (photo: governor's office)


    This guest column is part of Citizens Union Speakers, a regular series of op-eds written by members of the Citizens Union Foundation

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  • parollee restor oped

    Questioning which New Yorkers can go to the polls (photo: Gotham Gazette)


    Practicing social distancing is by no means easy, but the guidelines are simple: maintain six feet of distance from others, avoid crowded environments, public bathrooms, and shared dining facilities, and to blow off steam, go outside. Stick to the guidelines, health officials assure us, and we can all help protect each other, especially the vulnerable. 

    But many of the most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis are those whom most of us will never see and for whom social

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  • voter reg day1

    Next potential steps for voting in New York (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The following is an excerpt from the 2019-20 NYC Votes Voter Analysis Report

    Novel and frightening barriers to voting have the potential to upend the entire crucial 2020 election year in every state. The challenges of in-person voting during a pandemic are clear and significant. Elections traditionally provide a time for citizens to gather together in

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  • 1 good advo

    Voting in New York is undergoing major shifts, with more possibly to come (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Amid reports that Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to allow or require voting by mail for all New Yorkers in primary and special elections set for June 23, government reform advocates have raised concerns that the measure could end up adversely affecting the election, while the State Republican Party has promised to sue if the governor follows through.

    The coronavirus pandemic has forced several delays in the state’s election calendar and in-person voting

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  • Cuomo voting New York

    Gov. Cuomo votes, in person (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that he will use his executive authority to allow all New Yorkers to vote by absentee ballot for the June 23 elections, to prevent long lines at the polls that could put people at risk of being exposed to the coronavirus. Elections that day will include party primaries for many seats and special elections open to all voters within the relevant districts.

    “I've seen lines of people on television voting in other states.

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  • mbdb flcm co

    Major questions about voting during coronavirus hang in the balance (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    As the American people hunker down under a patchwork of evolving emergency orders and health directives, our communities are grappling with extraordinary circumstances disrupting and reorienting our lives and the economy. To flatten the curve of community spread during the increasingly deadly COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo has placed New York on PAUSE; Health officials have issued stay-at-home and social distancing directives; schools, playgrounds, and non-essential

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  • electeds yr

    Thursday's rally (photo: Samar Khurshid)


    About 1 million foreign-born New York City residents who have permanent residency status or are legally authorized to work in the United States could become eligible to vote in municipal elections under a new bill introduced before the New York City Council on Thursday.

    Sponsored by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, a Manhattan Democrat, the bill (Intro. 1867) would extend the franchise to green card and work permit holders who can show they have lived in the five boroughs for at least 30 days. The bill is the latest

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  • and cuomo westchester kc office

    (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    State lawmakers are poised to make a second attempt at launching the process to legalize automatic voter registration for eligible New Yorkers who interact with certain government agencies.

    Mirroring the auspicious beginning of the 2019 session, which in the first weeks saw a historic spate of voting reforms passed by the new two-house Democratic majority, lawmakers say another package of election bills, including automatic voter registration (AVR), is likely to

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  • Cuomo signs legislation

    (photo: Governor's Office)


    In the final weeks of 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo quietly signed a bill changing the way affidavit ballots are counted, an issue that roiled New York City last summer during the controversial recount in the Queens District Attorney Democractic primary. Borough President Melinda Katz, who had Cuomo’s endorsement, eventually prevailed over public defender Tiffany Cabán by just 60 votes, with hundreds of potential votes not counted -- votes that may have been counted had the governor signed the affidavit ballot bill into law

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  • senator mich giana

    (photo: Senator Michael Gianaris)


    At post-election oversight hearings in New York, where voting is perennially plagued by episodes of malfunction and inefficiency, it is not common to hear politicians praise election administrators. But praise for both the city and state boards of elections was one of the overriding themes of a Wednesday hearing held by state legislators, convened to examine the inaugural implementation of early voting in New York State.

    As officials commended both bodies’ efforts to adjust to a slew of new voting reforms in a short 10-month

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  • climate protest action

    (photo: Paige Polk/Mayoral Photography Office)


    2018 was an historic year for youth voter turnout across the country. Just not in New York. Nationwide, 31% of young voters (ages 18-29) made it to the polls. In New York, that number was about 16.4%, the second-worst in the nation in states for which we have data. New York’s young voters are not more apathetic than other states; instead, we have an election system that does not facilitate our participation, and in fact suppresses it.

    Our organization, Generation Vote, works to empower young

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  • votes president us cast 2016

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


    Election officials in Queens are counting ballots in the District Attorney Democratic primary recount exactly as the law prescribes -- and it is an injustice for Queens and an affront to democracy. 

    After a stunning reversal of fortune that saw Melinda Katz erase a 1,090-vote gap after absentee and other ballots were counted, Tiffany Cabán is challenging the rejection of a small number of provisional ballots that she thinks will turn the tide back in her favor.  While there are many

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  • de blasio voting election day

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    On Monday, the 2019 Charter Revision Commission heard from election experts from across the country as commissioners consider three potential election-related alterations to the city charter: ranked-choice voting, redistricting, and democracy vouchers.

    The commission is in the middle of a year-long process of public hearings and private discussions, which will yield proposals to change the city’s foundational laws that will go before voters this November. The scope of those

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  • gov cuomo dna

    (photo: Governor's Office)


    For decades, the phrase “three men in a room” has been used to capture how the leadership of New York state government (the governor, the state Assembly speaker and the state Senate majority leader) in Albany decides in back-room negotiations what legislation lives or dies. Finally, this year, state government can remake itself much closer to the image of true democracy. Leaders in the Assembly and Senate, Carl Heastie and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, are for the first time both African-American, and one is a woman.

    This is an undeniably

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  • gov cuomo votes

    (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor)


    On January 14, the New York State Assembly and Senate made their mark on New York voting history. After over 100 years without meaningful reform, legislators passed six bills that will significantly increase voter access to the polls and the reach of their voices. On January 25, Governor Cuomo codified this historic expansion and signed those bills into law. Important legislative priorities such as early voting, pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds, registration portability, and the consolidation of our state

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  • express poll e poll book

    (photo: Elections Systems & Software)


    As Democrats in the state Legislature continue a rapid pace of passing legislation to start the new session, the state Senate seems poised to advance another round of election and voting reforms, including approving the use of electronic poll books to administer elections.

    Electronic poll books, used in at least 34 states and the District of Columbia, are a fairly simple but significant instrument in

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  • gov cuomo albany

    (Photo via the Governor's office)


    Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a broad agenda of progressive legislation in his State of the State speech on Tuesday, accompanied by more detailed policy and budget books, including several measures aimed at improving New York’s democracy and increasing public trust in state government.

    Emboldened by full Democratic control of the State Senate and Assembly, after years of a split Legislature where Republicans controlled the upper chamber, Cuomo reiterated many of the proposals that he has repeatedly advanced in vain in

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  • elec apoll

    (photo: Gotham Gazette)


    If the 2018 election cycle is any indication, voter turnout is on the rise. Now is the time to take advantage of this moment to keep voters engaged in the electoral system and really give them a voice.

    One of the best ideas for promoting more diverse, open, and democratic elections is instant runoff voting (IRV). In New York City primaries, runoffs are forced for citywide elected positions when votes are split and no one candidate receives more than 40 percent of the vote. With IRV, voters rank candidates in order of preference. If no

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  • mnn agenda ep2

    (photo: @MNN59)


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    mnn59 agenda ep2As part of Agenda 2019, the project from Gotham Gazette and City Limits, hosts Ben Max and Jarrett Murphy were joined on Manhattan Neighborhood Network by State Senator Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat, and Susan Lerner, executive

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  • mxm logo

    Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette, and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits


    December 5, 2018 - Max & Murphy Podcast: De Blasio Finishes Year 5 & The Push for 'Fair Elections for New York'

    wbai hirsh jw 400bMayor de Blasio is nearing the end of his fifth year in office, and in the first half of the show the hosts take stock of recent news surrounding the mayor and questions of his

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  • Cuomo democracy protection

    Gov. Cuomo signs legislation (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    This is part of AGENDA 2019, a joint Gotham Gazette-City Limits project
    Find the rest of the series here

    The 2018 election cycle in New York laid bare the myriad failings of the state’s political system that advocates and reform-minded elected officials have long recognized. Several candidates, many in it for the first time, ran competitive races on the backs of small dollar donors while

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