Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

voting reform

voting reform

  • New York's Democracy is Broken; Albany Leaders are to Blame

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


    Our federal democracy is broken. 

    The Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade; five of nine justices were nominated by presidents who lost the national popular vote. Those justices have thrown their hands up when asked to address extreme partisan gerrymandering, then used their pens to gut what’s left of the Voting Rights Act. 

    Gerrymandering locks in minority power nationwide while the filibuster does

    ...
  • 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

    ...
  • New York Needs to Ban Hybrid Voting Machines Before They Make Our Elections Worse

    The ExpressVote XL 'hybrid' (photo: ExpressVote XL)


    New York needs to ban hybrid voting machines before they start being used, and the opportunity is here.

    Using these hybrid machines — where voters both mark and cast their ballot — is not good for voters, will not help election administration, and run the risk that voters will lose faith that their votes are counted accurately.

    There is a bill before the State Legislature (...

  • No Movement on Failed Voting Amendments After New York Democrats Vowed to Try Again

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


    After the stunning defeat of two voting-related state constitutional amendments on the ballot last fall, Democrats vowed to reinitiate the multi-year process this legislative session in Albany. But no state lawmaker appears to have introduced legislation this year to amend the New York constitution to allow for same-day voter registration and universal absentee voting, raising the possibility that they may not act at all.

    Barring a

    ...
  • New York Voting Rights Act Begins Moving in Senate But Remains Stalled in Assembly

     

    Voters at the poll-site (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    A sweeping voter protectionbill, theJohn R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of New York (NYVRA), moved

    ...
  • 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 ...

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

    NY Senate

    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

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

    47995517668 3812aa2cc1 c

    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.

    Had

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

    amdo kit food

    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

    ...
  • It’s Not Just Jay Jacobs — New York Needs a Pro-Democracy Movement

    spec elec pa

    Voting on the line (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Last Tuesday night was full of stunners — a nailbiter in New Jersey, a ...

  • WATCH: Get Ready to Vote on the 5 Ballot Questions

    park slope lib first vote

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


    There are five yes or no questions on the 2021 general election ballot across New York, asking voters to approve or disapprove changes to the state constitution. All the items on the ballot have been passed by two successive classes of the State Legislature and now go to the voters. They includes measures related to legislative redistricting, voting, clean air and water, and more.

    Four experts joined host Ben Max for a Manhattan Neighborhood Network

    ...
  • Voter Privacy Violations Will Continue Until Government Acts to Fix Them

    NYC voters voting boothVoters at the polls (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Voter data reporting laws must provide for voter privacy. Our elections are some of the most secure in all of the world, and at a time when voter confidence faces threats from false claims of fraud, it’s all the more important that voter data be held in a secure way. As cities and states seek to enhance confidence in their organizational competency and the validity of elections, statutes demanding access to auditable public election records are increasingly commonplace.

    Election data is a public good

    ...
  • New York Voters to Decide Fate of 5 Proposed Constitutional Amendments on General Election Ballot

    first park lib

    Voting (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    In addition to municipal elections across the state, including the consequential New York City mayor's race, all New York voters will have an opportunity to approve or disapprove five state constitutional amendments on the ballot this fall. If any of them are ratified through general election voting -- and that is likely given the state's recent history of ballot referenda -- they will be enshrined in the state's central governing document.

    The questions before voters have already been drafted and

    ...
  • 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

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

    stu vote reg

    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

    ...
  • An Emergency Correction to City Voter Disenfranchisement

    spec elec pub adv library

    Voting issues (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Jim Crow remains alive and all too well in Georgia, Florida, and, yes, New York City, where the most diverse field to seek the mayor’s office is preparing for June’s primary. 

    You know about news from Georgia, where Republicans -- citing false claims about fraud in the 2020 election -- have pushed

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

    ballot voting elec

    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

    crowds gathered votes

    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

    ...
  • Voting Rights Restoration A Good Step But New York Must End Blanket Disenfranchisement

    public ad first

    Voting rights (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Voting rights and social justice advocates are counting on legislative supermajorities in Albany to begin tackling a long ignored civil rights imperative, reform of New York’s racist Civil War-era blanket voter disenfranchisement law, which strips citizens of their right to vote while in prison or on parole for a felony conviction, regardless of the

    ...
  • Let’s Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Restoring Voting Rights to Tens of Thousands of New Yorkers

    MLK Jr arc of justice

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the arc of justice (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    Today we celebrate the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and in July we will honor and mourn the first anniversary of the passing of Rep. John Lewis, who marched side-by-side at Selma and together championed voting rights as a key aspect of the Civil Rights struggle for Black people in the United States. 

    In recent weeks we have witnessed both the best of democracy -- massive voter turnout, particularly among Black Americans, overcoming voter

    ...
  • How Blockchain Technology Can Boost Voter Confidence in New York City and Beyond

    voters on line Queens early

    Voters on line for early voting (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Blockchain – many know it is a technology of the moment, but few understand how it works. It’s just one of those things that sounds important, but so many eyes glaze over when the phrase is used. But more and more, the use of blockchain technology is becoming commonplace, and it’s time we consider using it to make sure elections are as secure as possible.

    First, the basics.

    Blockchain is known as a “decentralized ledger” -- meaning that whenever a change is made

    ...
  • New York City Sees First-Ever Balance Among Early, Absentee & Election Day Voting

    4 polling sites

    Voting in NYC in a pandemic (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The first presidential election in New York City to have both early and universal mail-in voting showed a significant portion of the electorate taking advantage of each of the new voting methods.

    Across the city, roughly 42% of those who voted cast ballots in-person on Election Day, while 37% voted at an early voting site, and 22% mailed in ballots, according to the New York City Campaign Finance Board. At ...

  • Ranked-Choice Voting is Coming; NYC Must Immediately Fund a Public Education Campaign

    early voting pres

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


    The combination of early voting, vote-by-mail, and the desire to vote out Donald Trump made 2020 a huge year for voting in New York City. Despite long lines, when voters are given the right resources and awareness, we can raise the level of participation.  

    As we turn towards 2021, the next chapter for voting in New York City will be the implementation of ranked-choice voting (RCV) for special and party primary elections for city government positions. If properly implemented, it will

    ...
  • Mass New York Voter Enfranchisement Awaits a Stroke of the Governor’s Pen

    stu voter reg

    Voters would have less hassle registering under AVR (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Following the widespread problems in the execution of this year’s elections, it’s clear we need to transform New York’s voting systems from top to bottom. From restoring confidence in the Board of Elections to reducing long lines and wait times counting ballots, lawmakers must take action now to prevent another disaster the next time New Yorkers vote. Thankfully, there is one important fix that can be done immediately: enacting the Automatic Voter Registration legislation that passed the

    ...
  • Efforts Launched to Encourage Early Voting and Avoid Absentee Ballot Headaches

    3 early voting influx

    Early voting at a poll site can be a breeze (photo: @BOENYC)


    As election administrators across the state prepare themselves for a second, larger wave of mass absentee voting this fall, officials and voting advocates are encouraging as many voters as possible to take advantage of the state's in-person early voting option as an alternative to crowded Election Day poll sites and the uncertainty of casting a ballot by mail.

    Early voting, first launched statewide in 2019, will be offered this fall from October 24 through November 1 and gives all

    ...