NEW YORK, NY (10/25/2021) (readMedia)-- 1199SEIU, 32BJ, New York State Nurses Association, and CWA District 1 have endorsed ballot proposals 1, 3, and 4. The pro-democracy proposals, which will appear on the back of New Yorkers' ballot this election, will give New York a better and more fair redistricting process, strengthen democracy, and make voting more accessible in New York.

New Yorkers will have the opportunity to flip their ballots and vote yes on proposals 1, 3, and 4 during Early Voting October 23rd-31st, and on Election Day, November 2nd.

"1199ers come from all walks of life, and many of our members are immigrants and people of color, who have long been the targets of right wing attacks and bad-faith attempts at diluting our power. But we know that the contributions of working people are what makes American democracy strong. Proposals 1, 3, and 4 will keep power with the people, and crucially ensure that noncitizens aren't excluded from the redistricting process. We're urging our members and all New Yorkers to vote yes on 1, 3, and 4," said Gabby Seay, Political Director of 1199SEIU.

1199 SEIU represents 450,000 caregivers, and is the largest healthcare workers' union in the country.

"Proposals 1, 3, and 4 are crucial measures that will help immigrant communities and people of color continue to build our power. We've got to make sure politicians can't ever again use prison based gerrymandering to dilute our voices, or attempt to exclude noncitizens in the census for the purpose of redistricting. I urge all New Yorkers to vote yes on proposals 1, 3, and 4 - to protect the political voice of working people." said Kyle Bragg, president of 32BJ SEIU.

32BJ SEIU represents more than 85,000 workers in New York, including cleaners in commercial and office buildings, public schools, theaters and event venues, residential building maintenance and support staff such as supers and doormen, security officers, window cleaners, and a variety of workers at airports.

"Through the pandemic, our nurses have risked their lives to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers. Now, New Yorkers have a chance to vote yes on proposals 1, 3, and 4 to ensure that the voices of our members - many of whom are immigrants and people of color - are protected in the state constitution from bad actors seeking to shut us out of democracy. Vote yes on proposals 1, 3, and 4!" said NYSNA Executive Director Pat Kane, RN.

The New York State Nurses Union represents 42,000 frontline nurses.

"Across the country, legislators are aggressively gerrymandering districts and enacting voter suppression, silencing the voices of working people and people of color. But with proposals 1, 3, and 4, we have the chance to make sure our voices are represented. We can reduce the partisan stranglehold over our redistricting process; keep immigrants, noncitizens, and people of color from being used as political pawns; and make it easier for all of us to make our voices heard. That's why all New Yorkers should vote yes on proposals 1, 3, and 4," said Dennis Trainor, Vice President of CWA District 1.

CWA District 1 represents 145,000 workers in telecommunications, health care, higher education, manufacturing, broadcast and cable television, commercial printing and newspapers, state, local, and country government.

Proposal 1 will reform the redistricting process to create districts that put New Yorkers before politicians. It will:

  • Guarantee that political districts include all residents regardless of citizenship status - as originally intended in the U.S. Constitution - for the purposes of redistricting. While this is current practice, enshrining this into the state constitution will ensure that New Yorkers are protected if federal law excludes noncitizens from the Census.
  • Enshrine a ban on prison-based gerrymandering in the state constitution, thus ensuring that incarcerated people are not used as political pawns.
  • Adjust the redistricting timeline so that final maps will be finished in time for 2022 candidates to make a decision and begin circulating nominating petitions in the actual districts they will run in. Because New York's primaries were moved in 2019 from September to June, if Proposal 1 does not pass, the timeline for finalizing maps will be out of sync with the election cycle.
  • Reduce the ability of political parties to manipulate the mapmaking process by freezing the number of State Senators at 63. The State Legislature has decided in the last 3 redistricting cycles to change the number of senators for partisan advantage.
  • Get rid of the need for the Independent Redistricting Commission's co-executive directors to represent each party, in favor of co-executive directors elected by a majority vote of the bipartisan commission. This will not only simplify the commission's process, but reduce the State Legislature's control over the mapmaking process, emphasize skills over party affiliation, and minimize partisan bias.
  • Require a uniform vote to approve maps, regardless of which parties are in control of the State Legislature. Currently, a two-thirds vote is required to approve maps if one party controls the legislature, and a simple majority is required if there is bipartisan control. This complicates the map approval process, acting as a pseudo-filibuster when a two-thirds vote is required. Proposal 1 will eliminate the shifting standards for map approval based solely on election outcomes and replace them with one clear, unchanging standard.

Proposal 3 means no more voter registration deadlines. The most reliable way to increase voter turnout is with a combination of early voting (which New York already has) and eliminating the unfair and unnecessary disenfranchisement that is caused by arbitrary voter registration deadlines. New York has two different voter registration deadlines: one is the 10 day cutoff in the state constitution that Proposal 3 would eliminate, and the other is the 25 day cutoff that is part of state law. The first step to doing away with voter registration deadlines and ultimately paving the way for implementing same-day voter registration in New York is passing Proposal 3, which will eliminate the 10 day cutoff for voter registration in the state constitution.

Proposal 4 would make voting more accessible for all New Yorkers by allowing voters to request an absentee ballot, no excuse needed. The pandemic led to expanded absentee voting, allowing over 1.5 million people in 2020 to vote by citing "temporary illness" as their excuse to request an absentee ballot. However, that will end this year, and New York's more restrictive absentee voting laws, which require voters to prove they will either be out of town or otherwise incapacitated to vote in person, will be back in force. Typically, only 3-5% of voters met these eligibility requirements. Proposal 4 would delete these narrow requirements from the constitution and have New York join the 34 states and Washington, D.C. that allow no-excuse absentee voting.

Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO, which is focused on urging its members to vote in favor Proposal 4, said "New York's voter participation has been disappointing and year after year voter turnout in New York ranks among the bottom of all states. If passed, Proposal 4 would make it easier to vote absentee and increase voter participation. It would allow New Yorkers who face challenges getting to the polls, including those with childcare and family responsibilities, multiple jobs and unstable work schedules to have the option of voting by absentee ballot."