For Immediate Release, April 1, 2019
Contact: (866) NYDLC-01; [email protected]
The New York Democratic Lawyers Council (@NYDLC) applauds state lawmakers for securing new voting reforms for all New Yorkers.
Hours ago, Governor Cuomo and State Lawmakers announced a budget deal that includes millions of dollars for Early Voting and e-poll books, enacts online voter registration, and expands opportunities to vote for working New Yorkers.
The FY 2019-20 budget provides $10 million for counties to implement an Early Voting period, and an additional $14.7 million in capital funding to help cover the costs of modern infrastructure like electronic poll books and on-demand ballot printers, which will improve election administration across the state.
From countless advocacy days in Albany, to carefully researched policy memos, to targeted conservations with lawmakers and others, NYDLCers have worked diligently for more than ten years, seeking precisely the kinds of voting reforms that were funded yesterday.
“NYDLC is proud to have been a strong and long-time advocate for this expansion of voting rights throughout the state,” said NYDLC Co-Chair Doug Dunham. “The adoption and funding of early voting in particular is a significant victory for the people of the state of New York,” he continued. “Reforms like early voting have significantly increased voter participation in several states in the Western half of the country; yesterday’s budget deal represents a step in spreading this best practice to the Northeast.”
Fellow Co-Chair Carol Schrager concurred, saying “The passage of the budget makes the dream of expansive voter access a reality in New York. Instead of having one day to vote, New Yorkers will now have nine additional days to cast their ballot, including two weekends. Working New Yorkers will also benefit from time off to vote on Election Day, if they wish.”
Reflecting on NYDLC’s many years of advocacy on voting reform legislation, Schrager said, “NYDLC has been a tireless advocate for all voters since 2005. Today, we celebrate these voting reforms, and we celebrate the work of so many NYDLCers who went to Albany to speak with legislators; who researched best practices and voting law, carefully drafting policy proposals; and who gave their time and their effort in hopes for this day, when voting is made easier for everyone.”
Former Executive Director Jarret Berg elaborated, saying, "When NYDLC undertook a sweeping revision of the leading early vote proposal in 2013, our advocates knew it would take a lot of persuasion and hard work to bring early voting to New York. Securing FY 2019-2020 funding for this critical voter access reform is the culmination of over a decade of pro-voter advocacy, and one that all New Yorkers can be proud of."
Looking towards the future, both Schrager and Dunham mentioned the importance of sustained efforts both on the ground and at the Capitol to continue to make participation more accessible and convenient for voters.
“We are seeing inspiring models develop across various states that demonstrate what is most effective to ensure that voters can register seamlessly, cast their ballots more easily, and that elections are secure, transparent and fair.” Shrager said. “We are celebrating today, but our work continues.”