January 15, 2019
Statement: New York Local Elected Officials Applaud Passage of Election Reforms
ALBANY, NEW YORK — Today, the New York State Legislature has taken a step forward to modernize New York’s elections by passing a series of reforms that includes early voting, consolidated primaries so that federal and state primaries are on the same day, mail-in voting, and pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds. In response, local elected officials and organizers from across the state released the following statements.
Chad Radock, Local Progress New York State Coordinator
“For too long, New York’s antiquated election laws have not reflected how progressive our state population is. Now, New Yorkers will be able to vote in local, state and federal primaries on the same day and will be able to vote early and by mail. These reforms are long-overdue changes to ensure that our elections are more accessible and more New Yorkers can have their voices heard in municipal, state, and federal elections.”
Anna Kelles, Acting Co-Chair, Local Progress NY and Tompkins County Legislature Vice-Chair
“Today is a great day in our democracy here in the Empire State! With these reforms passed by the state legislature, we not only modernize the electoral process but help to make voting easier for millions of people. While the historic votes taken today to increase participation in our elections, we still have a lot of work to do! We look forward to working with this legislature on the Automatic Voter Registration legislation as well as allowing people on parole a voice by voting as well.”
Marion Porterfield, Acting Co-Chair, Local Progress NY and Schenectady City Council Member
“While the voting reforms passed today are a step in the right direction, the timing of the legislation puts 2019 elections at a disadvantage by shortening the time frame of the process by months. Petitioning to get on the ballot for this year’s election would begin in just a few weeks while it is still dark in the afternoons and in the dead of winter. This is a significant change. I would like to suggest that if passed, the legislation to combine federal and state primary elections start in 2020 to give time to adjust.
Valerie Cartright, Local Progress NY Organizing Committee and Brookhaven Town Council Member
“Voter reform is strongly needed in the State of New York and long overdue. New York has been slowly moving towards passing these proposed expansions to ballot access. It is finally time for the State to make this a reality. The passage of the Bills before the State Assembly and the State Senate will provide constituents in the Town of Brookhaven and all over New York State increased access to their right to participate in the democratic process”.
Molly Clifford, Local Progress NY Organizing Committee and Rochester City Council Member
“This is an historic day in New York State! Today I commend the Empire State’s new legislature which comes together to expand voting rights, correcting decades of outdated voting practices that made voting difficult for a large portion of the population. While not all of our priorities are passed in this package of legislation, this is a huge step forward for all of us in New York State”.
Catherine Borgia, Local Progress NY Organizing Committee and Westchester County Board of Legislators
“I am so pleased that our new New York State Legislature is finally able to begin passing voting reform measures. We still have more reform to do on our antiquated election practices in NY, including a serious consideration of public financing, but I applaud this excellent package of legislation.”
Carmen Piñyero, Local Progress NY Organizing Committee and Freeport Village Trustee
“I am extremely excited to see that our state government is finally going to put its constituents first by passing comprehensive voting legislation that will make democracy more accessible to all while saving taxpayer money in combining federal and state primaries. The $25 million in savings could be used in other areas of importance to New Yorkers, like improving education, stopping climate change, and providing access to mental health services”.
Keith Batman, Local Progress NY member, and member of the Cayuga County Legislature
“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy and the actions that have been taken today to increase access are important steps to ensure that everyone has a voice. Many of us hope that today is not the last step, but he first step in returning democracy to the people and away from corporate special interest”.
Tara Gaston, Local Progress NY member, and member of the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors
“I am delighted that the legislature has passed legislation that will expand access to the ballot box for all New Yorkers and make certain that populations with historic difficulties in voting will have their voices heard, including parents, first-responders, and those with less economic power. Voting is a fundamental right and the removal of as many barriers as possible to the exercise of those rights will benefit New York State as a whole”.
Local Progress is a network of progressive local elected officials from around the country united by our shared commitment to equal justice under law, shared prosperity, sustainable and livable cities, and good government that serves the public interest. Local Progress is staffed by the Center for Popular Democracy.