NEW YORK

Candidates

Dana Balter for Congress US House of Represntatives

Jackie Gordon for Congress US House of Representative

Anthony Brindisi incumbent for Congress -- US House of Representatives

Tedra Cobb for Congress US House of Representatives

Sean Patrick Maloney incumbent  for Congress US House of Representatives

Nancy Goroff for Congress US House of Representatives

Obama's 2020 Endorsements

Jackie Gordon, U.S. House, NY-02

Max Rose, U.S. House, NY-11

Jamaal Bowman, U.S. House, NY-16

Mondaire Jones, U.S. House, NY-17

Antonio Delgado, U.S. House, NY-19

Dana Balter, U.S. House, NY-24

Tom Suozzi for Congress US House of Representatives

NOTES:

  1. NY Voter Registration Deadlines is Oct 9, 25 days before Nov 3, 2020.

  2. Stage 3 -- No excuse required for vote by mail.
  3. Online registration available

FAVORITES:

  1.  Act Blue Directory 

  2. Vote.org -- Everything about every state

  3. Movement.vote/groups/ -- Help local, state orgs get out the vote

  4. Votevets.org -- Vets against voter suppression

  5. Votefwd.org -- Most popular way to volunteer to support getting out the vote

  6. VoteSaveAmerica.com -- Adopt a State

Voter Issues

OCTOBER 2020

• New York: Voting advocacy organizations are appealing a recent state lower court ruling that declined to extend New York's voter registration deadline from 25 days before Election Day to just 10 days prior.

 

• New York: New York City's Board of Elections had to recently send out a hefty 100,000 replacement mail ballots after the vendor it used to supply ballot materials misprinted the envelopes sent to voters for them to place their ballots in. Numerous voters reported receiving envelopes with the wrong name and return address. While it was unclear how many erroneous envelopes were actually sent to voters or whether the problem extended beyond Brooklyn, the board went ahead with sending replacement ballots and envelopes to the up to 100,000 voters who may have been affected.

For voters who receive two ballots, only the second one should be sent in, and if a voter has already sent in the first ballot, only the second one would count if both are mailed. The replacement ballots also have a red mark that will be noted by the machines used to process them, and officials said they would try to contact voters by phone and email to alert them of the problem

The New York City board has been plagued by problems hurting voting access for years, and while Democrats have passed numerous reforms after gaining control of the state Senate in 2018, the long-troubled board (and its counterparts elsewhere in the state) is one area where they have yet to make major progress. Critics have long derided the system whereby the two major political party organizations select election board members as rife with corruption and patronage instead of encouraging apolitical professionalism.

Meanwhile, a state court judge has rejected a request from voting rights advocates that New York's voter registration deadline be shortened from 25 days before Election Day to just 10 days.

AUGUST 2020

 

• New York: Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that will require election officials to notify voters of any problems that might cause their absentee ballots to be rejected and give them a chance to correct them, which New York's Democratic-run legislature passed after large numbers of mail ballots cast in the state's June 23 primary were invalidated.

Cuomo also said in a memo that he and lawmakers had agreed to make "temporary modifications" to the bill, either by executive order or further legislation, though he did not elaborate on what those might be.

• New York: Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed three bills to ease voting access that New York's Democratic-run legislature passed last month. The most important reform will allow all voters to request an absentee ballot due to the coronavirus pandemic, a change that was also enacted before the state's June primary via executive order.

In addition, voters will be able to request absentee ballots starting right away, repealing a law that prohibited election officials from accepting requests more than 30 days before an election. Finally, a third bill requires officials to count any ballots missing a postmark so long as they are received by the day after Election Day.

Two other election-related bills are still awaiting Cuomo's approval or veto. One measure would require that absentee voters be notified of any problems with their ballots and given a chance to correct them, while another would obligate every county to place at least one early voting location in its largest city.

• New York: The New York State Board of Elections has reversed course and will not appeal a recent federal court ruling requiring officials to count ballots missing a postmark that were received up to two days after Election Day, according to one of the attorneys who litigated the case.

JULY 2020

 

• New York: Voting rights advocates have filed a motion asking a state court to require that New York shorten its registration deadline from 25 days before Election Day, which is one of the earliest deadlines in the country, to just 10 days before Election Day, which is the latest allowed by the state constitution. This lawsuit was originally filed two years ago but has yet to be resolved.

New York: Both chambers of New York's Democratic-run legislature have passed a bill to enact automatic voter registration, sending the measure to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his likely signature. Senate Democrats had approved similar measures both this year and last, but Assembly Democrats refused to sign off until changes were made.

Part of the compromise between the chambers means the law wouldn't go into effect until 2023. However, automatic registration would involve a number of state agencies beyond just the DMV, which is critical since New York has one of the lowest proportions of residents who drive of any state.

Separately, Senate Democrats also passed a constitutional amendment that would let 17-year-olds vote in primaries if they will turn 18 by the general election, a policy that many other states have already adopted. The amendment would have to pass both chambers before and after the 2020 elections before needing the approval of voters in a referendum.

New York: Civil rights advocates have filed a federal lawsuit objecting to New York's procedures for rejecting absentee ballots. They aim to avoid a repeat of 2018, when New York had the highest rate of rejected mail ballots in the country, with 14% of such ballots invalidated. The plaintiffs are challenging how ballots with problems such as a signature either missing or not matching the one on file are rejected without notifying voters. They want the state to require that voters be alerted and given a chance to remedy the problem in a timely manner.

APRIL 2020

• New York: Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that all voters will have a valid excuse to be able to cast absentee ballots in New York's June 23 presidential and down-ballot primaries. New York is one of a number of states that ordinarily require voters to have an excuse in order to vote absentee, and a constitutional amendment that Democrats passed to remove the excuse requirement in 2019 won't be able to take effect until after 2022 at the earliest.

 

• New York: A handful of Democratic lawmakers are renewing their efforts to pass a bill to expand online voter registration in New York City, which currently only covers voters with a DMV-issued ID and is therefore unavailable for a large number of voters given the high proportion of city residents who do not drive. The heavily Democratic City Council passed a law to do just that in 2017, but the state Board of Elections stymied the council by adding additional barriers.

MARCH 2020

• New York: Democratic Attorney General Tish James has asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, to issue an executive order mandating that all New Yorkers be sent mail-in ballots so that they can vote from home in New York's April 28 presidential primary. A special election for the state's vacant 27th Congressional District is also set for the date.

New York: A state court has struck down the third-party ballot access restrictions and campaign finance regulations imposed by New York's State Public Campaign Financing Commission, which Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Democratic legislature created after they were unable to agree on new reforms. The court held that the law creating the commission had itself violated the state constitution by improperly delegating legislative authority, siding with the progressive Working Families Party, which had sued over the commission's rules that would have made it harder for it to maintain access to the ballot.

Under the previous law, parties only had to win 50,000 votes in the most recent gubernatorial election to be automatically awarded a spot on the ballot over the next four years, and because New York's "fusion voting" lets candidates win the nomination of multiple parties, third parties play a prominent role in New York. However, the commission's now-invalidated rules required parties to meet a threshold every two years starting after 2022, and that benchmark would also increase: to either 2% or 130,000 votes in the preceding presidential election or gubernatorial contest, the latter of which takes place in midterms.

The WFP argued that Cuomo was retaliating against the party for backing a primary challenge against him from the left, prompting the organization to file suit alongside some legislators from both major parties.

This lawsuit also invalidates the campaign finance reforms the commission adopted, which set the donation limit for individual donors giving to statewide candidates at $18,000—considerably lower than the current $70,000 cap but still much higher than federal donation limits of $2,800 per election. The limits for state Senate and Assembly had also been lowered to $10,000 and $6,000, respectively. However, the commission hadn't reduced the limit for party committees, which can receive a hefty $117,300 from a single donor that they can then give to candidates.

The commission's public financing rules had set up a system where donations up to $50 were matched at a 12:1 ratio, those between $50 to $150 were matched 9:1, and those from $150 and $250 were matched 8:1. While that meant a $250 donation could qualify for an extra $2,300 in matching funds, the new system imposed a sharp limitation by only applying to donors who live within the district that a candidate is running for. That curtailed the effectiveness of this new program, particularly for campaigns in less affluent districts, and all of the campaign finance measures fell far short of what good government groups have advocated for.

Democratic state Attorney General Tish James, a Cuomo ally, has not yet said whether she will appeal the ruling.

JANUARY 2020

New York City, NY: Democrats, who hold nearly every seat on New York's City Council, have introduced a bill that would grant voting rights in local elections to noncitizens with lawful permanent resident status, which could give between 500,000 and 1 million people voting rights if it passes, according to proponents. With a majority of council members sponsoring the bill, it stands a good chance of becoming law.

A handful of small localities across the country have granted voting rights in local elections to noncitizens with permanent resident status, but a similar move by New York City would dwarf all the others in terms of impact. Furthermore, because of its prominence in the media, a successful implementation of this policy could influence other jurisdictions to adopt it as well.

Proposals like this have a long history in U.S. politics. For much of the 19th century and up until around 1920, many states granted a measure of voting rights to noncitizens who had permanently immigrated to the country. It's also the norm in many European democracies: In the European Union, EU citizens have the right to vote in elections for local government and the European Parliament in whichever member country they reside, and noncitizen residents have some degree of local voting rights in more than a dozen European nations.

New York: Democratic lawmakers have unveiled a bill that they're calling a state-level version of the federal Voting Rights Act, intended to restore some of the protections that the Supreme Court's conservative majority stripped away in its infamous 2013 ruling gutting a key part of the federal VRA.

That decision did away with the system known as "preclearance," whereby states and local governments with a history of discriminatory voting practices (mostly in the South) had to obtain approval from the Justice Department to enact any changes to voting laws or procedures.

The New York bill would revive that preclearance regime by mandating that all localities in the state obtain approval from the state attorney general for any changes to elections or voting, with a requirement that they demonstrate such changes won't have a discriminatory impact on any racial, ethnic, or language minority groups.

The bill also makes it easier to wage litigation against "at-large" voting systems in local governments that dilute minority voting power. Such litigation would prompt those localities to switch from electing bodies such as city council on a citywide basis to electing them by district, which would give minority groups a better chance to elect their preferred candidates.

Democrats hold full control over state government, meaning there is a good chance this proposal will become law.

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New York: Federal district court Judge Alison Nathan recently ruled that New York's state Board of Elections was unconstitutionally violating voters' rights by designating certain voters as "inactive" and removing their names from poll books used to verify a voter's registration status when they show up to vote. Nathan ordered election officials to make sure that lists of inactive voters be made available to poll workers.

The state moves voters to "inactive" if a single mailing is marked as "undeliverable" by the post office or if officials have reason to believe the voter had moved. However, because the U.S. Postal Service and the National Change of Address database has many inaccurate records, thousands of voters who hadn't moved were placed on the inactive list. When they would show up to vote on Election Day, some weren't given the chance to vote a provisional ballot or were told by poll workers to go to another polling site, but if that alternative ended up being the wrong polling site, their ballot went uncounted.

Nathan's ruling will help mitigate this problem, though to resolve it fully, New York will need to implement same-day voter registration. An effort to do so is in the works, but because it would require an amendment to the state constitution, same-day registration could not take effect prior to 2023.

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New York: State Senate Democrats have passed a bill along party lines to enact automatic voter registration, just as they did in 2019. Although last year's effort failed to win passage in the Assembly due to an alleged drafting error, modified legislation stands a good chance of passing in the lower chamber as soon as next week. If it becomes law, automatic registration in New York would enlist agencies beyond just the Department of Motor Vehicles, which is critical for the state with the country's lowest proportion of drivers per capita.

Senate Democrats also passed a raft of other bills that would expand early voting locations and voting access, require polling places on college campuses, and mandate early voting locations in each county's most populous municipality as well as early voting sites in medium-sized localities. Another measure gives local governments the option to operate mobile early voting locations for part of the early voting period instead of its entirety.

Democrats hold an even larger majority in the state Assembly, and if the lower chamber passes these bills, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo would likely sign them into law.

©BOOMERS FOR DEMOCRACY