For Immediate Release, Jan 14, 2019
Contact: (866) NYDLC-01; info@NYDLC.org
The New York Democratic Lawyers Council (@NYDLC) hails the speedy passage, through both houses of the New York State Legislature, of a package of election reforms that NYDLC members have fought for years to enact that will improve access to fundamental rights for the benefit of ALL eligible New Yorkers and finally begin to modernize New York's voting laws.
Along with our #LetNYVote Coalition partners, NYDLC volunteers have built a ground-up movement for change, educating voters, elected officials, and policymakers about the centrality of voting rights to the responsiveness and legitimacy of our democracy. While much work remains to be done, today is a day to celebrate our progress.
NYDLC Legislative Affairs Committee leaders Tabitha Crosier and Rachel Landy released the following statement: "The NYDLC Legislative Affairs Committee commends the New York State Legislature for prioritizing historic voting reform legislation that will help to ensure that New Yorkers are able to more easily exercise their right to vote. We look forward to working with the Legislature and the Governor to implement these critical changes to our state's election law."
The voting reform package includes:
- Early Voting during a 9-day period that includes 2 weekends and evening voting hours (support memo);
- Consolidating multiple federal and state primaries (support memo);
- Youth voter preregistration opportunities for 16- and 17-year-olds (support memo);
- Statewide voter registration portability, so current New York voters stay registered when they move within the state (support memo);
- Same day ('one stop') registration and voting NYS constitutional amendment, which begins to remedy NY's premature 25-day voter registration deadline (requires passage during 2021-22 session as well) (support memo);
- Universal absentee voting NYS constitutional amendment to provide all eligible voters with the option to vote absentee (by mail or in person) without the need to provide an excuse (requires passage during 2021-22 session as well) (support memo);
- Closing LLC loophole, a campaign finance anomaly that permits LLCs and those who control them to circumvent limits on political contributions.
“The pro-voter election reform package being enacted in New York advances and protects our civil rights", said Jarret Berg, Interim Executive Director of NYDLC. "By prioritizing ‘first principles’ like voting rights, Leader Stewart Cousins and the New Majority are already bringing positive policy change to Albany."
Minority Voting Rights Committee leadership Theo Harris and Mark Favors released the following statement: "We'd like to thank the legislature for moving these much-needed voting reforms, especially youth preregistration, a bill that the MVRC helped introduce. This legislation is proven to increase youth voter turnout, especially youth of color. We now look forward to working with high schools to ensure effective implementation."
However, there are no silver bullets when it comes to securing voting rights for all eligible Americans. Advocates should be mindful that today's progress is merely the first round of a much needed comprehensive overhaul that is urgently needed to modernize New York's antiquated registration and balloting laws and deliver on modern expectations of due process.
NYDLC has a comprehensive agenda of voter access reforms that are critical to enact because they collectively help ensure that ALL eligible voters can exercise the franchise. NYDLC's full NYS voter access reform agenda can be found here and NYDLC's national voting rights agenda can be found here.